The following profile was supplied, upon request, to the Beacon by the new principal of the Andover Elementary/Middle School. Dennis Dobe starts his new position on July 1, taking the place of retiring long-time principal, Jane Slayton. While the Beacon was hoping to catch Dennis for an interview, we caught him during a very busy time. We’ll catch up with him for a more personal interview for the August issue. Meanwhile, read on and get to know the next guiding force at AE/MS.
Dennis Dobe can be considered “local talent,” having grown up in New Hampshire, and attending New Hampshire universities: University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State University. As the son of a professional artist and college faculty member, Dennis enjoyed a unique upbringing in a home designed and built by his father and friends. Childhood days were spent with friends and siblings building forts, running through the woods, climbing trees, swimming in ponds, and paddling down rivers.
Sailboat racing with his father on Lakes Sunapee and Massabesic had a major influence on Dennis as he grew up, as did his days with family at art fairs, shows, and galleries throughout New England. Dennis enjoyed great success in athletics in high school and college, coached high school cross country and track, and continues to lead a very active lifestyle (running, cross-country skiing, sailing, paddling, and hiking) with his wife and best friend, Nancy – who has spent her career as a teacher in the Kearsarge and Merrimack Valley school districts.
Dennis and Nancy (happily married for more than 30 years) first settled in Potter Place, where two of their three children were born. The early days of his family at Highland Lake, in the fields, gardens, and on the Blackwater and rail beds around his modest home are some of his most fond memories.
When Dennis transitioned from teaching Social Studies and coaching at Kearsarge Regional High School to school administration, he and his family moved to Contoocook, where his third child was born. Nancy and Dennis’ kids attended Hopkinton schools, where they enjoyed academic and athletic success, and attended state universities afterward.
Professionally speaking, Dennis has had the honor of contributing to collective excellence in New Hampshire public schools for more than 30 years, serving in varied communities and capacities. He began his career as a special education teacher in Pembroke, supporting primary grades students with emotional and varied learning disabilities.
As a middle and high school social studies teacher in Pittsfield and Kearsarge, Dennis came to learn how powerful cohesive educational teams and dynamic learning environments could be in the lives and learning of school children. Seeking new opportunities to contribute and lead, Dennis transitioned his career to school administration and has enjoyed and grown from assistant principal and principal appointments in a number of schools from the capitol region, to the seacoast, to the lakes region, to the southern tier of our state, and back to the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region, where it all began.
Throughout his career, Dennis has promoted Whole Child Education, developmentally responsive and personalized academic programs that foster success for all students, 21st Century Learning, innovative and dynamic student-centered learning environments, and strong school-community partnerships.
Now with an “empty nest,” Dennis and Nancy will downsize their lives, moving from Hopkinton to Grantham in the near future. Dennis views the opportunity to serve the community of Andover as its school principal a dream come true, and the culminating appointment of his career. AE/MS embodies everything he believes is best for kids in school and exemplifies the many benefits of strong school-community partnerships.