Constance VanHouten

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Constance VanHouten
Constance VanHouten.jpg
Board Member, Manchester Board of School Committee, Ward 12
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Term limitsN/A
High schoolWest High School
ProfessionRetired educator
Campaign website
Constance VanHouten campaign logo
Constance "Connie" VanHouten is the Ward 12 member of the Manchester Board of School Committee. She received enough votes in the primary election on September 17 to proceed and won the general election on November 5, 2013.


Constance VanHouten resides in Manchester, New Hampshire. She graduated from West High School, which is a part of the Manchester School District.[1] VanHouten taught English at Memorial High School for 36 years before retiring in 2007, although she still teaches in a limited capacity through ESL programs and at Manchester Community College.[1]



See also: Manchester School District elections (2013)


Manchester School District, Ward 12 General Election, 2-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngConstance "Connie" VanHouten 45.7% 504
     Nonpartisan Christine Duffley 41.7% 460
     Nonpartisan Blanks 12.2% 135
     Nonpartisan Write-in Votes 0.4% 4
Total Votes 1,103
Source: City of Manchester, New Hampshire, "2013 Municipal General Election - November 5, 2013," accessed November 6, 2013

Manchester School District, Ward 12 Primary Election, 2-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChristine Duffley 40.6% 239
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngConstance VanHouten 36.3% 214
     Nonpartisan Joel Elber 23.1% 136
Total Votes 589
Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, "Unofficial contested Manchester primary results," September 17, 2013 These results are unofficial and not certified. They will be updated once certified results are available.


VanHouten reported $2,495.99 in contributions and $1,187.68 in expenditures to the City of Manchester, which left her campaign with $1,308.31 on hand.[2]


Constance VanHouten did not receive any official endorsements for her campaign.

Campaign themes

In a campaign video for Manchester TV, VanHouten stated that, "As a school board member, I will look at issues through the eyes of a city taxpayer and a Ward 12 resident, and as someone who has been inside the school system. Our school district has many outstanding qualities, but it's at a pivotal transition point. The face of our city and of education in our city is changing. There is new leadership. We are a city of great diversity. The future of West High School, the school which many Ward 12 students attend, is unclear, and that is a critical issue for Ward 12 and for the city."[1]

What was at stake?

At-large incumbents Kathy Staub and David M. Wihby sought re-election, as well Sarah S. Ambrogi, Debra G. Langton, Chris Stewart, Ted Rokas, Dan Bergeron, Erika Connors, Arthur J. Beaudry and John B. Avard in their respective wards.[3] Incumbents Roy Shoults, Dave Gelinas, Jason Cooper and Roger Beauchamp did not file for re-election and were replaced by Amy L. Bradley, Ross Terrio, Katie Desrochers and Constance "Connie" VanHouten in Wards 4, 7, 11 and 12, respectively. The only incumbent to be ousted was Dan Bergeron in Ward 6, who was beaten by challenger Robyn M. Dunphy.

District audit

On June 26, 2013, Curriculum Management Systems published its audit of the Manchester School District. The district spent $40,000 to commission the report, which criticized the size of the fifteen-member school board and its two-year terms as causes of instability in the district.[4] The audit states that, "Declining student enrollment, funding reductions, board disharmony, aging school facilities, and disparities in student performance have been long-standing issues facing the district."[5] The auditors acknowledge that, "...the educational program a student experiences at one school may differ widely from the education a student receives at another school," and recommend that the school board create "written policies, plans, and procedures to provide a foundation for a consistent educational program" across the district.[5] Board member Arthur J. Beaudry did not agree with all of the findings and recommendations in the audit, arguing that, "The board is reluctant to pursue big changes too much because that's seen as micromanaging. So they back up, or at least some board members do."[4] Board member Christopher Stewart took a different position and referred to the audit as "terrific."[6] Christine Duffley has acknowledged that, "The findings of the recent Manchester School District audit report reveal many areas in need of improvement."[1]

Common Core

On April 29, 2013, the school board voted to approve an $83,900 contract to train district elementary and middle school teachers in the Common Core standards for English and math.[7] Local education activist Deborah Olszta criticized the vote and Common Core, stating, "Every student in the country is going to be doing same thing at same time. China can do this sort of thing, but in America, this is supposed to be an open and free-thinking society."[7] Debra G. Langton and Arthur J. Beaudry voted against the contract, with Langton questioning the necessity of the contract in light of existing budgetary issues in the district.[7]

About the district

See also: Manchester School District, New Hampshire
Manchester School District is located in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Manchester School District is located in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. The county seats of Hillsborough County are Manchester and Nashua. According to the 2010 US Census, Hillsborough County is home to 402,922 residents.[8]


Hillsborough County outperformed the rest of New Hampshire in terms of its poverty rate, median rates of average household income and higher education achievement in 2011. The poverty rate in Hillsborough County was 7.5% compared to 8.0% for the entire state. The median household income in Hillsborough County was $70,591 compared to $64,664 for the state of New Hampshire. The US Census also found that 34.6% of Hillsborough County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 33.1% in New Hampshire.[8]

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