Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – Nicola Fraley is ready to move into Rindge Memorial School

Nicola Fraley likes to be on the move.

The 45-year-old Peterborough resident grew up in Neston, a small town in North West England where she spent her free time cycling, playing in the yard and participating in sports such as trampoline, badminton and swimming.

After graduating from university in the UK in 1998, Fraley moved to the United States for what she thought would be a summer, working as a camp counselor in Connecticut, before returning to start a career in law. But plans changed when she met and fell in love with her co-adviser (and now husband), Craig Fraley. So she moved permanently to the United States in 1999 and started working as an educator.

“Having part-time jobs, I’ve always loved working with kids and said, ‘Well, that’s a new avenue. Let’s do it in a new way,” said Fraley, who is currently vice principal at both Jaffrey Primary School and Rindge Memorial School.

Her job also keeps her on the move most of the time, usually splitting her week between the two elementary schools in the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District. At the end of the school year, she will make another career change when she takes over as principal of Rindge Memorial School.

“I can put all my energy into one place, and I feel like I can be more effective that way,” she said. “…The community here, within the community of staff, students and families, it’s a really tight-knit and supportive community.”

Coming to America

Growing up, Fraley always wanted to be a lawyer. So, when she came to the University of Bradford in the UK, she studied law and business. As she finished her bachelor’s degree, Fraley’s friend Anthony East encouraged her to join him in the United States for a summer, to travel and work as a camp counselor.

Fraley was on board and took a job at Camp Incarnation in Ivoryton, Conn., while East went to a camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. The couple said they would meet and travel for about two months after their stays at the camp, but those plans never materialized. Instead, Nicola (who also goes by the name Nicky) was randomly teamed up with Craig Fraley to lead a group of about a dozen campers between the ages of 13 and 15, and the two fell in love with one another. the other.

“We just hit it off like a house on fire,” Nicola Fraley said. “We laughed a lot, we had a lot of the same interests. We enjoy the same kind of things like being in the woods and hiking and traveling and just having fun.

So after camp was over, Craig asked Nicola to join him for his return to Colorado Mountain College, where he was studying outdoor recreational leadership. From there, she took a Greyhound bus to San Francisco and spent time traveling up the West Coast.

“And I went as far north as Vancouver, and I was like, ‘What am I doing here? I will be going back to England in a few weeks,” she said. “’I should go back to Colorado and hang out with this really cool guy for a bit more before it’s time to go home.’ ”

She went back to see Craig before heading to the UK for a few months. Meanwhile, Craig considered transferring to the University of New Hampshire, while Nicola landed a job at Nature’s Classroom. With the Charlton, Mass.-based organization, Nicola has led week-long residential environmental and science education programs for middle school students across New England, primarily at the organization’s camp at Freedom on Lake Ossipee. .

Back to school

Nicola and Craig Fraley married in August 2001 and moved to the Monadnock area around Christmas. They lived in Hancock, then Harrisville, for a total of two years before moving to Peterborough, where Nicola had secured a paraprofessional job at Peterborough Elementary School in the ConVal School District.

Education is in Nicola’s family. Her father, Pete Barton, worked as an instructor at a further education college in England, mainly teaching literacy and numeracy skills to adults. And his sister, Jennie Sawtell, is a primary school teacher in the UK (Fraley’s mother, Lynn Barton, was a nurse.)

While working at Peterborough Elementary, Fraley earned her master’s degree in education and a teaching certificate from Keene State College in 2003, after which she became a fourth-grade teacher at the school. She returned to Keene State about 10 years later to earn her instructional leadership certification, which paved the way for her to serve as principal at Francestown Elementary School in 2014.

After three years in Francestown, she moved to Clark-Wilkins Elementary School in Amherst, where she served as principal for two years before applying for her current position, which the Jaffrey-Rindge District created before the school year. 2019-2020.

“My first impressions were that she was a very upbeat, knowledgeable, articulate person,” Jaffrey-Rindge Superintendent Reuben Duncan said, adding that Fraley’s role as an administrator in the two elementary schools in the district is unique. “So she serves, among other things, as a bridge between these two elementary schools and has been instrumental in bringing these two schools together.”

Fraley said she prioritized helping JGS and RMS – which both enroll around 300 K-5 students – maintain their individual identities, while creating more shared expectations and experiences for students from both schools.

“All of our students from both schools come together in sixth grade in middle school, and so students were really coming in with different experiences,” she said. “So they weren’t necessarily as ready to succeed as they could be in terms of where they come in together.”

So over the past three years as vice principal, Fraley said she has focused on fostering collaboration between the staff of the two schools, leading them to adopt similar classroom practices and policies, and for example, consistent rubrics for grading writing assignments.

At home in Ringge

Fraley said she loves her current job, so it was a tough decision to apply for the principal’s position at Rindge Memorial School, but ultimately she looks forward to the new role.

“I don’t want it to feel like we’re not reaching our potential now, but there’s so much potential for fun and great things we can do here that it’s really inspiring and that’s exciting to think about what the possibilities are for the future,” she said.

Kelly Marcotte, principal of Rindge Memorial School since 2015, said Fraley has formed meaningful relationships with the school and the community.

“I feel like I’ve worked hard to connect with communities and families, and I think she’s on the right track to do that,” Marcotte said.

Rindge’s tight-knit community is part of what drew Fraley to the district in the first place, she said. It’s also a community the Fraley family already knew – Craig Fraley served as the town’s director of recreation for about five years. He has held the same role at Amherst for the past eight years.

“You talk about that sense of community; now, eight years later, I’ll talk about someone from here, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s so-and-so’s mother,'” Nicola Fraley said. “Just that feeling of connection and family, it’s really cool and something very strong here at RMS.”

Marcotte, who earned her doctorate in education from Plymouth State University last year, said she plans to take some time off before exploring her next steps, which could include teaching at the college level. In the meantime, she said Rindge Memorial School is in good hands with Fraley.

“I’m really, really excited to have Nicky take the helm next year, and I just think it’s going to be a smooth transition for the school and the community,” Marcotte said.

And as Fraley prepares for this latest career move, she’s been spending a lot of time outside of school with her family, normally doing something active.

“I think I would say I like to move my body,” she said, noting that she’s run multiple marathons. “So I love mountain biking, running, paddling, hiking and gardening. We are a super active family.

Her children — 15-year-old son Ben and 12-year-old daughter Kate, both students from the ConVal School District — ski race Crotched Mountain in the winter, among a host of other extracurricular activities.

All that activity takes a lot of fuel, but that’s no problem for Fraley, who also enjoys cooking and baking. The family bakes all their bread, usually making two loaves at a time, two or three times a week.

“We eat a decent amount of bread,” she laughed. “He’s getting eaten.”

And despite all that movement, Fraley said she was thrilled to settle into her new role at Rindge Memorial School.

“I see myself here for a very long time,” she said. “I would like to retire by the time the time comes.”

In Brief: Nicola Fraley

Age: 45

Hometown: Born and raised Neston, England; Resident of Peterborough for approximately 20 years

Family: Husband, Craig Fraley, Director of Recreation for the Town of Amherst; his son Ben, 15, a freshman at ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough; his daughter Kate, 12, a sixth-grade student at South Meadow School in Peterborough

Occupation: assistant principal at Jaffrey Grade School and Rindge Memorial School; incoming director at RMS, effective July 1

Education: Degree in law and commerce from the University of Bradford in England in 1998; Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Keene State College in 2003; 2013 Keene State Educational Leadership Certification

Question: What motivates you to work in education?

To respond:“The kids. When you walk into work, you see them, and they’re like, ‘Hey Mrs Fraley! And they want to tell you things and they want to share, and they’re excited to be here and they’re excited to learn and they’re excited you’re a part of it.

Question: What advice did your father (Pete Barton) give regarding his career in teaching?

Answer: “My father was very clear with us when we were children, with a lot of family in education, it was very clear that it is a job, it is a profession that you only enter if you really feel like you can make a difference. You don’t become an educator for holidays or holidays or that kind of thing. You do it because you really think you can make a difference. … It’s not an easy career, and so you do it because you want to make a difference. You do it because you want to work hard.

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