Elenore S. Freedman

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Elenore S. Freedman
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Born (1926-01-15) January 15, 1926 (age 98)
CitizenshipUnited States Of America
Alma materRadcliffe College
  • Benjamin Finklestein (father)
  • Dora Finklestein (mother)

Elenore S. Freedman (born on January 15, 1926), called the "dean" of educational reform and advocacy in New Hampshire,[1] is a former New Hampshire education executive and was a co-founder of [he Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire.[2] In 1990, Freedman was awarded the Granite State Award for Outstanding Public Service from the University of New Hampshire, and she was included in “Notables in NH” as one of 422 people who “helped shape the character of the state.”[3]

Early life

Born in 1926 to Benjamin and Dora (Markovitz) Finklestein, Freedman graduated from Brockton High School in 1943 and Radcliffe College (B.A.) in 1947. She married Peter S. Freedman in 1947.[1][3]


Early Volunteer Work

Living in Marion, MA, she co-founded (as a volunteer) the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, and was elected its first President.[1][4]

NH Council for Better Schools (1957 - 1969)

Moving to Bedford, New Hampshire, she became Executive Director of the New Hampshire Council for Better Schools in 1957.[1][3][5] During this time, she:

  • Published “The Upper Quarter” (a study by Margaret Ronzone Cusick) in 1959,[6] a three-year study of the top 25 per cent of New Hampshire High school graduates. The study, a subject of subsequent conferences,[7] showed that nearly half of the top quarter of all High School seniors in New Hampshire didn’t attend college, and over 15 percent of this group did not even graduate from high school. The survey further showed that while there were almost twice as many girls as boys in the top quarter, more than two thirds of those boys went to college while less than half of the girls did.[8][9]
  • Was appointed by New Hampshire Governor John W. King in 1965 to a delegation representing New Hampshire at the 1966 Governor’s Conference to draft an inter-state compact on education sponsored by the Study of American States and led by Terry Sanford, former governor of North Carolina.[10] The resulting recommendations, published in 1966, included the development of "a master plan for school district reorganization", a minimum teacher’s salary, expansion of vocational training, and a compulsory kindergarten program for all public school pupils.[11] The recommendations were promoted by King in addresses, discussed on NH television,[12] and endorsed by the NH Schools Boards Association[13] (which Freedman would later lead) as well as the New Hampshire Education Association (representing 6,000 state teachers).[14]
  • Represented the group, lobbying on behalf of issues important to NH education.[15]

NH School Boards Association (1970 - 1974)

In 1970, Freedman became program coordinator, publications director and administrative assistant for the Center for Educational Field Services (a joint office of the N.H. School Boards Association and the University of New Hampshire).[1][3][5] While there, she coordinated an annual Education Conference (co-sponsored by the four state Associations of School Boards and which featured keynote speakers such as Ralph Nader),[16][17][18] and lobbied on behalf of issues impacting education.[19]

NH Association of School Principals (1974 – 1988)

In 1974, Freedman was appointed Executive Director of the newly formed NH Association of School Principals, which merged the two former Associations of Elementary and Secondary School Principals.[1][3][5] The Association ran state-wide conferences and workshops for NH school principals, sometimes as joint conferences with the NH School Boards Association. These conferences provided training as well as a forum to discuss some of the most pressing educational issues at that time.[20][21][22] As Director, Freedman also lobbied in Concord and in the media on behalf of NH education-related legislation.[23][24][25][26][27][28]

Association for Effective Schools / School Improvement Program (1988 – 1991)

In 1988, Freedman was chosen to be Director of the newly formed NH School Improvement Program, directed by the NH Alliance for Effective Schools.[1][29]

This program was offered to New Hampshire schools as a collaborative venture by 19 educational, business and governmental organizations, including the New Hampshire Legislature, the N.H. Charitable Fund, Federation of Teachers, the N.H. Leadership in Educational Administration Development (LEAD) Center, Business and Industry Association, the NH University System and local school districts.[30][29]

An independent evaluation of SIP described the program: “SIP is designed to enable participating schools to simultaneously tackle critical issues related to student success and develop the capacity to manage ongoing change. Once accepted into SIP, schools select a team that includes the principal, and parent, teacher, school board, and district administration representatives. The SIP team receives intensive training on educational issues, leadership and organizational change at a summer institute, and then over the next three years is responsible for leading planning and implementation of the school change effort. During these three years the team works with specialists in facilitation and consultation, receives a "profile" of the school that provides data to consider in creating a plan for school change, receives funding for technical assistance, and is offered workshops and networking opportunities.”

10 schools were chosen for the pilot program in 1988,[29] which grew to over 30 by May of 1991.

An independent evaluation of the program in 1991 found that “New Hampshire can take great pride in this Program which is gaining recognition as among the best efforts in the country to improve public education.”

The program was studied nationwide, and won national recognition in November, 1989 as one of four educational programs in the US featured as models of educational public-private partnerships.[31][32][33]

The 1991 evaluation summarized that “The Program provides a critical element of what is called for in the Governor's Task Force on Education… At great effort and with remarkable skill over the past three years, the key parties in New Hampshire public education — teachers, administrators, parents, students, state officials, businesses — have joined in an agenda of unusually high quality. This ambitious program seeks to change entire schools…

This evaluation’s chief criticism of the program was that SIP needed to “… more tightly focus and quantify its objectives and improve its capacity to set benchmarks and track the performance of individual schools.”


SIP came under attack after the New Hampshire governorship transitioned from John H. Sununu (governor from 1983 – 1989), who strongly supported the program, to Judd Gregg (governor from 1989 - 1993), who did not.[34]

Early in 1991, New Hampshire’s state Board of Education advocated against SIP and endorsed using the funding to give tax rebates to parents sending their children to private schools. Supporters of SIP noted that the governor and several members of the Board sent their children to private schools. The Legislature opposed the Board of Education’s agenda and proposed a bill to strip the state Board of Education’s rule-making authority to set education policy and rules for New Hampshire’s schools.[35] This bill was ultimately ruled against by New Hampshire’s Attorney General.[36]

The controversies surrounding SIP drew the attention of the New Hampshire press, including editorials in the Manchester Union Leader,[37] New Hampshire’s only state-wide newspaper and a strong supporter of Gregg.

In August of 1991, Gregg revoked the contract and ordered the education commissioner to put the program out to competitive bid, even though the program had been approved by the Legislature and signed into law.[38][39] Supporting Gregg’s position, a member of the Executive Council said, “The issue has been clouded somewhat by the program vs. the process.” He said he has reports on “how well the program is being administered, but it’s the process that bothers me.”[40] Later that month, RFPs were sent to seven firms, with three responding.[41][42]

In September of 1991, the state Department of Education reviewed all submitted bids, and awarded the contract to SIP.[43] Less than a week later, Gregg threatened to cut the program’s funding at the Governor and Executive Council meeting in October, citing an anticipated budget deficit.[44] However, SIP was awarded the two-year contract at the October meeting, without debate.[45]

Freedman retired from the program,[46] but it continued through its two-year term. At its 1993 Governor and Executive Council meeting, the contract was awarded to a private consulting firm, primarily citing its “...method for evaluating schools.” SIP was, however, given a ‘continued voice and role’ in the program.[47] Two years later, the program was eliminated from the NH budget.[48]

The Derryfield School

Along with her husband Peter, Elenore Freedman was a founder of the Derryfield school in Manchester, NH,[2] a private, independent, non-sectarian, college preparatory day school, serving families in southern New Hampshire.[49] Elenore Freedman had known R. Philip Hugny from the NH Council for Better Schools,[50] and he was recruited as the first headmaster of Derryfield.[51]

The school opened in September of 1965 with 108 students and 11 faculty members.[52] Classes were initially held in space rented from the Manchester Institute of Arts and Science and the nearby Boys Club. The School then bought 10 acres of land on River Road, and the school moved to newly built facilities on this land in 1967.[53]

The Derryfield School is now considered to be one of the top private secondary schools in New Hampshire.[54] As of 2019, Derryfield had grown to serve nearly 400 students from grades 6-12 with a student/faculty ration of 8/1 and an average class size of 15. The school campus has grown to 84 acres.[55]

Awards and Citations

  • Freedman was included in “Notables in NH”, a book published by the NH Historical Society, as one of 422 people who “helped shape the character of the state.”[3]
  • In 1990, she was awarded the Granite State Award for Outstanding Public Service from the University of New Hampshire, in recognition of her substantial contributions to the quality of education in New Hampshire during the last 40 years.[3][56]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Guide to the Elenore Freedman Collection, 1960-2002". University of New Hampshire Library - Special Collections, University Archives & Museum. University of New Hampshire Library. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "History". Derryfield.org. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Brereton, Charles (1986). New Hampshire Notables / Presenting Biographical Sketches of Men and Women who have helped shape the Character of the Granite State. Portsmouth, NH: New Hampshire Historical Society. p. 68. ISBN 0-914339-11-7.
  4. "New League of Women Voters Elects Officers in Marion". New Bedford, MA: The Standard Times. March 29, 1952.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Bedford woman named by School Principals". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. June 22, 1974. p. 7.
  6. "Margaret Ronzone Cusick dies in New Hampshire". Redlands, CA: Redlands Daily Facts. Mar 28, 1977. p. 4.
  7. "Winer will preside at Education Session Here". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. March 15, 1960. p. 14.
  8. "College Beyond Reach of Most N.H. Graduates". Boston Globe. UPI. Jan 21, 1960. p. 10.
  9. "Nashua High Sends More Bright Students To College". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. Jan 23, 1960. p. 2.
  10. "King Names State Delegation To Draft Interstate Compact". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. AP. September 22, 1965. p. 34.
  11. "$5,000 Salary For Teachers Recommended". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. AP. September 7, 1966. p. 19.
  12. "Television Schedule / TUESDAY". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. June 11, 1966. p. 25.
  13. "State Challenge". Portsmouth, NH: The Portsmouth Herald. AP. Oct 22, 1966. p. 3.
  14. "NHEA Protests Lower Standards For Certification". Portsmouth, NH: The Portsmouth Herald. AP. Oct 21, 1966. p. 1.
  15. "Sweeps Money Urged for Specifics". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. AP. Apr 11, 1964. p. 12.
  16. "Educators Meet Here Thursday". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. Oct 20, 1971. p. 23.
  17. "School Personnel Will Meet At Educational Conference". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. Oct 16, 1973. p. 5.
  18. "School board member taking Part in Seminar". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. April 18, 1972. p. 9.
  19. Taylor, Jane F. (Feb 18, 1972). "4 ½ Per Cent Tax Plan Faces Further Study". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. p. 1.
  20. Hanlon, Jay (Oct 2, 1974). "Educators To Weigh Negotiations Question". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 3.
  21. "School Principals to Meet in Concord for Workshop". Portsmouth, NH: Portsmouth Herald. Jan 28, 1975. p. 6.
  22. "N.H. School Boards Group To Honor Nashua Woman and Hudson Man". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. Oct 15, 1976. p. 36.
  23. "Principals Oppose End of School Unions". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. UPI. Aug 17, 1977. p. 1.
  24. "N.H. push underway to raise drinking age". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. AP. Feb 20, 1979. p. 22.
  25. Pokorny, Brad (Jan 30, 1983). "Low pay, low aid, high costs hampering N.H. education". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. p. 1.
  26. Wysocki, David (Mar 23, 1983). "Plan for more math, science teachers debated". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. API. p. 2.
  27. Storey, Laurie J. (May 8, 1988). "Mixed marks given to state Legislature". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. p. 374.
  28. Storey, Laurie J. (May 22, 1988). "Some Officials fear state faces future shortage of administrators". Boston, MA: The Boston Globe. p. 383.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Cleveland, Michael (June 15, 1988). "Wilkins named one of 10 in pilot project". Milford, NH: Milford Cabinet. p. 16.
  30. "Our History". Nhcf.org. New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. 1988. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  31. Storey, Laurie J. (Nov 15, 1989). "Schools program in N.H. cited as national model". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. p. 13.
  32. "NH School Program Picked for Honor". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. Nov 10, 1989. p. 8.
  33. Gorey, Thomas H. (Nov 15, 1989). "NH School Programs Recognized". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 4.
  34. Landrigan, Kevin (July 18, 1991). "School improvements probe sought". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. p. 1.
  35. Storey-Manseau, Laurie J. (May 12, 1991). "Bill seen as signal to education board". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. p. 229.
  36. Tibbetts, Donn (August 21, 1991). "AG Rules on Board Powers: Holds State Board of Education Has Rulemaking Authority". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 11.
  37. Finnegan, Jim (June 10, 1991). "It Doesn't Make Sense (Editorial)". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader.
  38. "Bidding Process on education contracts questioned". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. AP. Aug 18, 1991. p. 259.
  39. "School work bidding ordered". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. AP. Aug 11, 1991. p. 252.
  40. Tibbetts, Donn (Aug 8, 1991). "Gregg Orders School Project Put Out to Bid". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 1.
  41. Tibbetts, Donn (Aug 16, 1991). "SIP Bid Notice Goes Out To Seven Firms". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 6.
  42. Tibbetts, Donn (Aug 27, 1991). "School Improvement Program Bidders Conference Draws 3 Possible Vendors". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 6.
  43. Tibbetts, Donn (September 21, 1991). "'Alliance' Retains Contract for NH School Improvement Program". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 1.
  44. Tibbetts, Donn (September 27, 1991). "Gregg: Deficit May Threaten School Improvement Plan". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 4.
  45. Tetreault, Barbara (Oct 17, 1991). "Executive Council Approves Pact for School Improvement". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 6.
  46. "Classifieds". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. Oct 20, 1991. p. 320.
  47. Tibbetts, Donn (Aug 26, 1993). "Council Unanimously Okays School Contract". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 7.
  48. Tibbetts, Donn (June 23, 1995). "State Budget Negotiators Reach Compromise". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. A1.
  49. "The Derryfield School / Fast Facts". Derryfield.org. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  50. "Mrs Flynn Named to Council For Better Schools". Nashua, NH: Nashua Telegraph. AP. November 18, 1961. p. 2.
  51. "The Derryfield School / History". Derryfield.org. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  52. Hanlon, Jay (September 8, 1965). "Private High School Opens in Manchester". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 19.
  53. Nettel, Al (Jan 27, 1991). "Derryfield School: 'Grass Roots' Fund Raising Led to Its Founding". Manchester, NH: Manchester Union Leader. p. 2F.
  54. "2020 Best Private High Schools in New Hampshire". Niche.com. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  55. "The Derryfield School / Fast Facts". Derryfield.org. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  56. "Little Town shows it has a lot of heart". Boston, MA: Boston Globe. August 5, 1990. p. 265.

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