NEWBURY — Newbury resident Margaret Callahan has a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College, a master's from Simmons and is working on her doctorate in education at UMass Lowell, but ask her about high school and stand back.
"I'm a Triton Viking," she announces proudly. "I grew up on Mudnock Road. We moved from Newburyport to Salisbury when my father became fire chief there."
Today, all her various alma maters have reason to be very proud of their alumna, as do her friends and family. She's the principal of New Hampshire's Seacoast School of Technology in Exeter, considered the best high school career and technical education center in the Granite State. On Tuesday, Callahan was named Career and Technical Principal of 2011 by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals.
"It's so exciting," Callahan said. "I'm just very proud and so proud of this school. This is a team effort; I have the best staff in the world, and the kids are just great. This is a no-nonsense place. Everyone here wants to be here."
SST works differently from technical schools in Massachusetts, like Whittier, where students attend full time, Callahan said. Students attend SST from six area high schools, such as Winnacunnet Regional High School. Students take their core courses at their high school, then sign up to take special curriculum at SST.
The options at SST are many, including college-level courses. They include 13 different technical curricula, such as pre-engineering, health sciences and biotechnology, computer programing, digital communication, early childhood education, culinary arts and automotive technology.
The school has a reputation for having the most up-to-date equipment, course materials and teachers. According to one of Callahan's faculty members, Bob Nienhouse, much of the reason for that reputation is Callahan's diligence.