Mrs. Withee: I have always wanted to be a principal but I am so glad I was a teacher then an assistant principal first! When I was a teacher, I taught mostly 3rd & 4th grade. I was an assistant principal for 4 years and couldn’t WAIT to become a principal someday! I wanted to be a principal so I could help a lot of kids, staff members, and families. I enjoy being a leader and taking on a leadership role, and being principal fits my personality. I LOVE being a principal and I am so lucky to be at Deerfield Community School.

Mr. Grieve: When I was young, I always knew I would be in some type of leadership position, I just didn’t know what kind. After I became a teacher, I realized that working in a school was something I would do for the rest of my life. While I loved being a teacher, I knew deep down that I wanted the opportunity to take on the challenge of being an assistant principal. After a lot of hard work, and getting the job as the Assistant Principal at DCS, that idea I had when I was younger came to fruition.

Why do you wear ties or get dressed up? ~Harper, 1st Grade

Mrs. Withee: The reason I get dressed up everyday is because I want to look professional. I think dressing up shows I care about my job, I care about my students and staff, and I want to do a good job for them. It is important to look professional and act professional when you are the principal!

Mr. Grieve: I wear a tie because of my position at the school. It shows professionalism. I like trying to match my shirt to the tie and some kids like to see the different ones I wear.

What is your favorite season? ~Stiorra, 2nd Grade

Mrs. Withee: My favorite season is spring. To be clear, I love all the seasons for different reasons, but spring is my favorite because everything becomes new again. After a long, cold winter I love the warmer days that follow. I love watching flowers and trees come alive. I love spring concerts at school. I always look forward to this time of the year. I even love seeing bugs again!!!

“Hope springs eternal”…

Mr. Grieve: My favorite season is fall. I like the warm days and crisp nights. I also like that there are no bugs in the fall and that it means hockey season is about to start.

What is your special talent? ~Sawyer, 4th Grade

Mrs. Withee: My special talent is storytelling – as in reading stories to children, not necessarily telling stories! As a storyteller, I can be long winded and often told to get to the point (at least that’s what my family would say). I have always LOVED reading stories to children – my own…and my school children! When reading stories, I try to make the book come alive, incorporating funny voices, funny faces, and funny actions! One of my allllll time favorite books to read is Airmail to the Moon by Tom Birdseye. I have read this book so many times, I can practically recite it word for word without looking! Some of my other favorites are Piggie Pie, Don’t Eat Your Classmates, and anything by Robert Munsch or Patricia Polacco. If I were to participate in a Talent Show, I would DeFiNiTeLy read a story!!!

Mr. Grieve: After thinking about this one for some time, I have determined that my one talent would be making people laugh. I tend to be very witty and as a result, I make a lot of people laugh. This talent has come in very handy this year, as many people are feeling extra stressed. Being able to make people laugh and lighten the mood, makes me feel like I am putting my talent to the best use.

How many people are in your family, including pets? What are your pet’s names? ~Ms. Maxfield’s cohort A, 5th Grade

Mrs. Withee: My family includes my husband, Jim (aka Mr. Withee!), my daughter Hannah and my son Jack. Hannah is 23 and is a teacher at Henry Moore School in Candia, NH. She teaches 2nd grade and LOVES it. My son Jack is 17 and is a junior at Pinkerton Academy. He is VERY tall like my husband and yes, he plays basketball!!! We do not have any pets, unless you count stuffed animals as pets – then we have 100s of those living in our basement! We like to donate those to places, so if you know of someone in need of a bag of well cared for stuffies, let me know!!!

Mr. Grieve: My family is made up of 5 members. They are my wife Kate, some of you may know my two sons, Becket (who is in 4th grade) and Barret ( who is in 2nd grade). The last member of our family is Puck, who is a dog. We are a big hockey loving family, so when it came time for a name, it made sense to give him a name related to hockey. For the foreseeable future we will keep our number at 5, unless we decide to get another dog, or a hamster, or a bird, or a hedgehog!

Do you have a favorite Halloween costume? ~Alexis, kindergarten

Mrs. Withee: My all time favorite Halloween costume is being an “earring model”!!!! I love my Halloween earring collection and try to wear a different pair every day. I have ghosts and pumpkins (lots of pumpkins) and witches and witches hats and witches boots and skeletons and eyeball earrings!!!!! When kids ask me on Halloween, “Mrs. Withee, what are you?”…I always tell them “I am an earring model”! It has worked so far!

My favorite Halloween costumes have always been the “homemade kind” where you use things around the house to dress up with. You know what you can do with a sheet??? Be a ghost! You know what you can do with a flannel shirt, some ripped jeans, suspenders, boots, and some dirt? Be a “hobo”… don’t forget your stick and bandana sack! That is an oldie but a goodie costume that your parents might have to explain!

Oh, and wait until you see my December holiday collection! You will be dazzled!!!

Mr. Grieve: Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. While in the past I’ve enjoyed dressing up as a zombie, I am actually looking forward to this year’s costume. This year’s costume is an inflatable alien holding a person. It stays inflated with a battery operated fan. Not only is it funny looking, it will also keep me warm. As long as the costume doesn’t pop or tear, this may become my favorite costume.

What are some of your favorites? Favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite things to do? ~Mrs. Przybylski’s Cohort A 2nd Grade Class

Mrs. Withee: These are a few of Mrs. Withee’s favorite things:

Food: Pizza (just like Mr. Grieve!!!)

Color: PURPLE, of course!

Game: Uno or Skipbo or Tenzi (if you haven’t heard of Tenzi, you should definitely check it out!)

Thing to wear: Dangly earrings

Music: Anything by James Taylor

Fruit: Apples & watermelon

Vegetable: Broccoli & corn on the cob (with lots of butter and salt & pepper!)

Store: Target


Mr. Grieve: Over the years I’ve been asked by many students what some of my favorites are and the one topic that I can not narrow down to just one is color: I have 2 favorite colors, blue and purple. While I know they are analogous colors, I can not make up my mind as to which I like more. (Mrs. Dickey and Mrs. Chase would be proud of me for this answer.) As for food, my favorite go to item is pizza. Being from NY, I am very picky about my pizza. I’ve had a hard time finding a place that sells a good pie (what we call pizza in N.Y.) here in N.H., so I enjoy going back to N.Y. to eat my favorite food item.

Some of my other favorite things are: sport=hockey, book=To Kill a Mockingbird, hobby=snowboarding, band=Pearl Jam, leisure activity=spending time with my family. And my favorite school=DCS!!!

What is it like doing your job? What’s the hardest thing about your job? ~Mrs. Nelson’s Cohort B 3rd Grade Class

Mrs. Withee: The job of a principal is different every day! That is what makes the job so exciting!

There are some things that are predictable like greeting kids when they come off the bus, doing Morning Announcements, and giving air hugs and air high fives throughout the day. There are some things you never could have predicted would happen like the phones aren’t working, the toilet is overflowing, or the copier is jammed! Luckily there are many people at DCS who work together to solve any problem there is on any given day, so I have a lot of people I can rely on to get through the day!

The best part of my job is getting around the school to work with, talk to, and see kids. I also love talking with staff about how things are going for them, and working with so many different people. Probably the hardest part of my job is answering emails. It feels like an endless task that never completely stops! If I leave my desk for a little while, there will be 15-20 new emails for me when I get back! I guess it comes with the territory, as they say, and if that is the hardest part…I sure am a lucky principal!!!

Mr. Grieve: Being an assistant principal means I do a lot of walking! I am not in my office all that much and if I am in my office it means I’m doing the boring parts that are required of my job, like working on scheduling and/or typing up some type of report. As the assistant principal, I deal mostly with discipline and helping students learn right from wrong.

If a student is having a difficult time following the rule or the expectations in the classroom or on the bus, I have to meet with them to discuss how they can make better choices. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to be the “bad guy” and inform students they have a detention or an in-school suspension (I don’t like that part of the job).

When I have time, I visit classrooms and see what students are working on and hear what is going on in their lives (this is my favorite part of the job).

I think the hardest part of my job is having to work with a young student on a discipline issue and then go and work with an older student on a more serious discipline issue. I need to remember that my approach in working with a student is different at each grade level and doing this all day long can be the most difficult part of the job. BUT, I love my job and will work through all the hard/difficult parts just to enjoy my time working with kids every day.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition? ~Kellan, Fifth Grade

Mrs. Withee: Where do I even start???

Christmas is my very favorite holiday. Have you seen my earring collection???

Growing up, one of our family traditions was putting the Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve, then Santa Claus would decorate it and leave us presents for Christmas morning. The elves ALWAYS left us a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve.

With my own children, we did a Christmas countdown for years starting on December 1. Every day would be a fun activity while we counted down the days. There was always a cookie baking day, Christmas ornament making day, and a pizza party in front of our Christmas tree while watching my

all time FAVORITE Christmas movie, Elf … “SANTA….I KNOW HIM…I KNOW HIM!!!” The one tradition I carried over from my childhood was asking the elves to bring my children pajamas every Christmas Eve. Hannah & Jack look forward to that each year…even as a 24 & 17 year old! I wish all

of you who celebrate, a wonderful holiday season filled with love, kindness, and joy!

Mr. Grieve: One of my favorite Christmas traditions since I was really young, which I now continue with my own family, is opening/sharing one present from/with immediate family on Christmas eve (Mom, Dad, siblings). This has always been fun because this gift usually had a lot of meaning

and it wasn’t lost in all the craziness of all the presents from Santa and other family members.

Do you have any plants? ~Maxfield’s 5th Grade Class

Mrs. Withee: I love a nice plant and have several around my house. I prefer a plant that doesn’t need a lot of “tending” outside of an occasional watering so tend to stick with Christmas Cactus, ivy plants, and spider plants.

Pothos plants are my favorite because they grow like weeds (but they are not a weed!!!) and can be easily repotted to make even more plants!

I’m not much of a green thumb outside of these easy to care for plants and I love to give plants as gifts. Plants can last a looooong time and make people happy. I know when I look at plants people have given me over the years, I smile remembering who gave it to me and hope the same goes for plants I have given!

Mr. Grieve: I am happy to say that I have a green thumb! I have always enjoyed having plants both in my house and in my office. At one time, I had about 25 plants in my house, but I downsized once my boys became toddlers because they would push all the plants over which were at eye level! I have slowly been increasing the amount of plants I have in my house, but I have become more focused on the plants I have outside my house. Over the past 2 years, I have spent more time and money on landscaping and I am learning more about soil and bees and butterflies. My plant knowledge is slowly expanding to make my little piece of the world a bit more colorful.

Do you like Math? ~Josiah, First Grade

Mrs. Withee: As a student, I was never very strong at math. There was no such thing as a math manipulative when I was growing up. It wasn’t until I started teaching and using math manipulatives that I grew to love math and found my love to teach math even more…well, up to 5th grade!!!!!

3rd grade multiplication was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE math concept to teach!!!

I love seeing the different strategies kids use with Eureka at DCS and wish I was taught to think that critically.

Keep working hard in math. It will serve you well for many years to come!!!

Mr. Grieve: I don’t know if I would say I like math, but I do appreciate math! So much of our lives are driven by some aspect of math.

I struggled with learning math when I was young and it wasn’t until I was older that I learned to look at math as more of a foreign language. By doing this, I was able to learn how to make math work for me.

I wish I was taught math how the students of DCS are being taught math. If I had the same instruction you do as a DCS student, my answer would be different!

What do you think is the cutest animal or what is your favorite animal? ~Ms. Smith’s 2nd Grade Class

Mrs. Withee: There is something about monkeys!!! They are sooooo cute! I love to watch them and always wished I could have one, but that is certainly not a good idea. Monkeys belong in the wild.

My favorite animal is a panda bear. Aren’t they just the most adorable things ever? The way they climb their mama and play with each other, the way they eat their bamboo and do handstands in trees…come on, CUTE or what??

When you have a moment, check out this webcam website with all kinds of animals (but I especially love the panda cams!): Earth Cam – Animal Cams

PS…Off topic, I realized I forgot to complete the title for one of my favorite children’s books in last week’s “Ask the Principals”…My current favorite children’s book is The World Needs More Purple People!!!!

Mr. Grieve: This is a very difficult question to answer, as there are so many cute animals.

Just when I thought I had figured out what I thought was the cutest animal, I remembered another animal which was cuter.

So after all the pressure of making this decision, I have narrowed my choice down to two categories:

Cutest adult animal and Cutest baby animal.

My choice for cutest adult animal is the koala bear. The ears, the face, the fur….how could this not be the cutest animal. And throw in a hawaiian shirt!!!!! Fugeddaboudit! Way too cute!!!!

As for my choice for cutest baby animal, this one may come as a shock, but it has to be the sloth. A sloth, you say Mr. Grieve, that’s crazy. But just look at this little guy. Nothing says “I got this this” like a sloth.

Do you play video games? ~Tyler, Kindergarten

Mrs. Withee: Much like Mr. Grieve, I grew up playing Atari to Nintendo to PlayStation to WII but I can go back one generation more and add PONG to my list of video games (you might need to ask your GRANDPARENTS what this is!!!)!

I LOVED Atari as a kid. I played Space Invaders, Missile Command, and Asteroids so much no one in my family could beat my high score!

Now I enjoy watching my son play his video games. He loves NBA2K and we enjoy playing WII games as a family…Super Mario is an ALL time favorite! Oh…and my guilty pleasure is playing Toon Blast on my phone!!!

Mr. Grieve: One of the perks of being a little older than 40, is that I have experienced the evolution of video games and video game consoles first hand.

I started playing video games on my cousins Atari! (ask your mom and dad what that is) Playing video games took on a whole new meaning when I got a Nintendo for Christmas when I was 9. When Sonic the Hedgehog

came out, I saved all my allowance for a Sega Genesis. I eventually bought a PlayStation, followed by a PS2. I switched to an Xbox and Xbox 360, before going back to a PS4, which is what I currently play games on. When

I do have a half hour or so of free time, I mostly play sport games, either MLB the Show or NBA2K. (This is the only time the NY Mets or Portland Trial Blazers win a championship ) Now and then, I will play Rocket

League or Worms with some friends online. Since I have grown up playing video games, I don’t see myself not playing them anytime soon.

What is your favorite outdoor activity? ~Ms. Plater’s Cohort B Kindergarten Class

Mrs. Withee: Ahhhh, the great outdoors!!!!

One of the things I love about living in New Hampshire is the beauty each season holds within.

I love to do yard work in the spring.

I love to swim and go to the beach in the summer.

I love to go apple picking and enjoy our fire pit in the fall.

And winter, well…I like to take naps…indoors.

Sorry winter! Give me a good snow storm or a good freezing cold day, and I will be under my electric blanket for as long as time will allow!!!

Mr. Grieve: The outdoors and me are like peanut butter and jelly, just meant to be.

If I can be outside, I have a smile on my face, except during blackfly season and deerfly season.

During the spring you can find me maple sugaring, getting my yard and garden started as well as hiking on local trails.

During the summer, I enjoy a nice day and the beach, camping or traveling to National and State Parks.

Come fall time, as I have expanded my flannel collection, almost every weekend evening I can be found at my fire pit.

Winter allows me to be in my happy place, which is on a snowboard at one of the local mountains. Nothing makes me happier in the winter than a nice bluebird day!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? ~Kayden, 7th Grade

Mrs. Withee: If I could live anywhere in the world, I would want to live right near Disney World. I love Disney World and can’t wait to return there someday when we can be in large crowds again! I have visited a handful of times throughout my life, and have loved every visit for different reasons! If I could live with Goofy too, that would be even better! Disney World…Here I come…someday!!!

Mr. Grieve: While I can’t narrow down a specific place, if I could live anywhere, I would live in the southern region of Europe. I love experiencing other cultures and traveling, and living in Europe would allow me to do this with ease. It is very fun and exciting to get on a train in one country and arrive in another country with a different culture, language and climate. Living in Europe would also allow me to visit my Irish relatives a lot more, as now I only seem them once every 10 years or so.

What is your favorite genre of music and why? ~Kayden, 7th Grade

Mrs. Withee: I would have to say my favorite genre of music is folky…soft rock…new age…anything from the 70s…type of music! I also LOVE anything sung by kids!

Put me in a gym in the month of December for a holiday concert, and I am in my glory! Not to get off topic, but my all time favorite singer/songwriter is, hands down, James Taylor. I have seen him a few times in concert – once by myself because no one in my family w

Mr. Grieve: My favorite genre of music is Rock N Roll!!!!

I love all types of Rock music: Alternative Rock (Pearl Jam); Punk Rock (The Clash); New Wave (The Talking Heads); Americana (Grateful Dead); Classic Rock (The Band); Art Rock (Pink Floyd); and many many more types!

I love how diverse rock and roll can be, from a very few simple cords (The Ramones) to complex arrangements (The Jimi Hendrix Experience).

I think my love for rock n roll goes back to high school and how many of my life experiences at this time I associate with some type of “rock soundtrack”.

I have been to well over 150 rock concerts and I can’t wait for live music to once again come back to us, so I can experience a favorite band or a new one and hear some really good tunes.

To quote the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley, “Rock and Roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Where did you grow up? ~Grace, 4th Grade

Mrs. Withee: I grew up in Nashua, NH. I loved growing up in the 2nd largest city in New Hampshire. I lived near Greeley Park and loved walking there to play. I also grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of kids so we were always playing kickball, hide & go seek, and wiffle ball (of which I was horrible at!!!). My parents and one of my sisters still live in Nashua. I love to visit and always tie in a trip to my favorite bagel place…Bagel Alley, my favorite pizza place, Espresso Pizza…and my favorite bakery for delicious donuts, Crosby Bakery. When I need a new pair of shoes, Alec’s Shoe Store is my go to and there is always the Pheasant Lane Mall and Jordan’s Furniture – left on Spit Brook, right on Daniel Webster!!!!!!! I have millions of fond memories of where I grew up.

Mr. Grieve: I grew up in what is the true definition of super suburbia, Bethpage, NY.

Growing up there was great! I could ride my bike to a pizzeria, a 7-11, a deli and bagel shop.

There was always someone to play with, as there were so many kids who lived within a short bike ride or walk.

As I grew up, I was fortunate to be able to get on a train and be in New York City in about 40 minutes. Finding a job was easy, as there were so many places to work and not all of them required me to rely on my parents to get me to my job.

There were some downsides to growing up in Bethpage. Sometimes you didn’t know who’s phone was ringing, because my neighbors house was very close to mine. (This is when house phones existed. If you don’t know what they are, ask your mom or dad). There was also a lot of traffic, so sometimes it took a long time to go a short distance.

While I enjoy going to visit my parents, who still live there, I couldn’t imagine living there now.

I enjoy having a few acres of land and having access to hiking trails.

But looking back, I was fortunate to grow up in a safe neighborhood with good people, and have really good memories from my time there.

What is your favorite vacation spot? ~Hailey, 8th Grade

Mrs. Withee: This is a great question, but a tough one to answer!

I haven’t taken a ton of vacation trips, but each vacation spot I have been to, I love for different reasons.

I love Disney World and Florida and have enjoyed every vacation I have had over the years, especially with my family.

I love North Conway, NH. It is far enough to feel like you have gotten away, but close enough to get home without traveling for hours and there is always something fun to do there!

I love Maine, especially Ogunquit, York, and Wells. There is nothing like Maine beaches! I would like to visit Old Orchard Beach sometime soon, maybe this summer I will be able to get away for a few days!

I love Nantucket, especially the ferry ride!

The one vacation I can’t WAIT to take someday is a cruise – anywhere – for any reason – with anyone who wants to come with me!

Mr. Grieve: Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, I do not have a favorite vacation spot.

I try not to go to the same place year after year, as I enjoy visiting new places as much as I can.

If I had to pick a few places as my vacation spot, I would choose Glacier National Park in Montana , Cape May, NJ, or Cannon Beach, OR.

What is your favorite sport and/or sport you have played? ~Ms. Maxfield’s 5th Grade  

Mrs. Withee: My favorite sport is basketball.

With a husband who is 6’5″, a daughter who is 5’11”, and a son who is 6’6″, it is my lot in life!

I love watching my children play basketball, win or lose, and will miss the days of going to the gym when my son stops playing.

As for me playing sports, I was not very athletic growing up. I did play softball for a few years, but stuck to kickball in the neighborhood as my sport of choice!

Mr. Grieve: There are two sports that I could watch anytime, even though they are completely opposite in terms of speed: hockey and baseball.

I love going to watch both sports in person, with the sounds of the game, the energy from the crowds and the overall feeling you get when you walk into a baseball stadium or hockey arena.

I used to play a lot of sports when I was young: soccer, baseball, basketball, and track and field.

As I grew older, high school years, I realized I couldn’t really compete at the level needed, so I joined the cross country team. I was awful at running long distance, but I made some really good friends, some of whom I still see regularly.

The last few years, I started playing hockey and an Irish sport called hurling. I am not good at either of these sports, but they keep me active, sort of in shape and have allowed me to meet some nice people.

How did you become the Principal and Vice Principal? ~Willow, 3rd Grade

Mrs. Withee: I officially became the principal of Deerfield Community School on July 1, 2018. Before being the principal at DCS, I was an assistant principal (like Mr. Grieve) at a school in Manchester, NH.

When I saw that DCS was looking for a principal, I applied for the job hoping I would at least get an interview. After interviewing with the Superintendent, Mrs. Sherman…Meeting Mr. Grieve and taking a tour of the building…having a Meet & Greet with the community…interviewing with about 48 community and staff members…and finally interviewing with the Deerfield School District School Board…I was offered the job! When Mrs. Sherman called to tell me I was the finalist, I SCREAMED with excitement!

I am finishing my 3rd year as principal of Deerfield Community School and have loved (almost) every minute being with kids, staff, and families of Deerfield!

Mr. Grieve: I became Assistant Principal of DCS in 2012.

Prior to this I was working in the Somersworth School District as a 7th grade social studies teacher. While I was teaching there, I became interested in the idea of being an assistant principal. I was given the opportunity of filling in for the principal when he had to be out of the building, and this opportunity allowed me to see what the job was like and whether or not I would like it.

Once I knew I could do the job, I went back to college to get a degree which would allow me to become a school administrator (fancy term for principal or assistant principal).

When I saw that DCS was looking for a new assistant principal, I figured it would be a good chance to see what the interview process was like. At the time I did not think I would get hired because I did not have experience as an assistant principal. But, to my surprise, they liked me and after several interviews, I was hired, and the rest is history, as they say.