Dr. Kendra LaRoche (she/her) comes to the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) as a leader in the education world with over 20 years’ experience, the most recent as the assistant principal in charge of special education and behavior at Manchester Elementary/Middle School.
Kendra was a first-generation college student who worked her way up to masters’ degrees from both Harvard and Middlebury, as well as a doctoral degree from SNHU. This experience fueled her lifelong passion of working with historically marginalized populations. As a Rowland Fellow in 2011, she addressed equity, the “elephant in the room issue” and radically changed the culture and climate of Burr and Burton Academy. Since that point, she has worked with schools and districts to focus their thinking on issues through data-driven decision making. While others also work with data, her strong emotional intelligence and commitment to spotlighting local culture gives her work a lasting change.
While data-driven decision making describes what Kendra does, the hiring committee was most impressed with how she did it- through relationship building. She brought restorative justice practices to her previous organization and plans to do the same at SNSC. Her training in this area allows her to lead staff through difficult conversations and situations that focuses on building trust and open communication. Trust is a fundamental building block of SNSC’s work, from its programming for children and adults to its advocacy work with schools.
The Special Needs Support Center is a group of individuals and families throughout the Upper Valley and beyond who proudly work together to create a community where people with special needs, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, can live their best lives. This dovetails beautifully with Kendra’s passions. Kendra’s past three decades of work has been laser-focused on what she refers to as her “big WHY”, or the compelling higher purpose that pushes her to action. Her “big WHY” is the belief that all people can find success. This fits perfectly with SNSC’s vision that “all people with special needs, and their families, have opportunities and support to pursue their goals and aspirations”.
The Special Needs Support Center welcomes Dr. Kendra LaRoche and looks forward to a productive future working together for all people with special needs and their families.