When it comes to New Hampshire taxpayers, one of Windham's two superintendent candidates believes that it is "a must" to include them in the planning process of any new facility.
Winfried Feneberg, who has served in the Timberlane Regional School District (SAU 55) for 25 years, has seen the stress of overcrowding.
During the late 1990's, he said that the middle school in SAU55 was laid out for 700 kids, but was mushrooming to as many as 1,000 to 1,200 children. Trailers and mobile classrooms were also used for almost every Timberlane elementary school.
"In terms of being creative with space, having to put some of the teachers on carts, sharing classroom space – all of those we are familiar with," he said.
But despite knowing the stress of working outside the box, Feneberg said that a new facility is something that needs to be planned "very carefully, and built to last."
Windham voters will face a warrant article related to a new 7th and 8th grade facility on London Bridge Road in March, a ballot item that came before taxpayers in the form of architectural and engineering fees in 2012.
While Feneberg didn't want to speculate on solutions should voters turn the school down this year, he did detail how a district should work with taxpayers.
"(There is) fiscal prudence in just about every southern New Hampshire community," he said. "I think you have to make sound arguments if you request public money."
Unlike Windham, The Timberlane District is seeing declining enrollment numbers in both towns that it serves.
Feneberg is in the process of familiarizing himself with the Windham School District, which will split from Pelham to form SAU 95 at the end of June.
He explained that there are socio-economic similarities between Hampstead, where he is currently acting superintendent, and Windham. That acting role has seen him work with school boards, tackle budgets and serve in all other functions that the Windham job will demand.
From a communication standpoint, Feneberg said that he believes in the "collective intelligence" of an entire team when executing a plan, not just of himself.
"I depend on other professionals on my team to brainstorm solutions and then once these solutions are analyzed, vetted with the community and the parents and the administration, I take a leadership role in presenting it (and) working on making it real," he said.
Feneberg has almost exclusively worked in N.H. since graduating from Northeastern with his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS).
The 52-year-old Germany native said that the Granite State is similar to where he grew up outside of Munich, with the mountains and woods always nearby. It was the prospect of having the ocean that appealed to him when he came to New Hampshire so many years ago.
Aside from SAU55, Feneberg works at Tufts as an adjunct professor of school psychology and education.
The Windham School Board and SAU staff are scheduled to hire a superintendent this month. Feneberg is joined by fellow finalist Dr. Richard Bergeron, who we introduced to readers last month.