Stephen Chinosi’s First Year as Principal at Portsmouth High School


Photo courtesy of Stephen Chinosi

Teak Getman, Paper Clip Staff/Writer

When looking back on the year, Stephen Chinosi is content with what he has done, but he is looking forward to chasing his vision of Portsmouth High School. He is determined to continue to build relationships with the students and bring them the best education possible.


Stephen “Captain” Chinosi took the helm at PHS this past fall. He has lived in the area for 30 years and has been working in high schools for over 25 years. Coming into PHS, Chinosi was ready for whatever was coming at him, though he knew he would not know until he sat down in the seat. Chinosi is a “big fan” of the Seacoast area, which he has been a part of for as long as he can remember. 


A project that was brought to the school by Chinosi was a project called “The Portsmouth Portal,” which is part of a bigger project which allows students to connect with people around the world. The Portal is a dark room with a screen that portrays the other Portal somewhere else in the world. It is a blow up facetime that allows kids and people to connect with one another. This was the most inspired he has ever been as a teacher, and he was so excited when he got a chance to start it at the high school. (See The PaperClip’s other article about the Portal)


“I believe it is the most important thing to connect students with the world,” says Chinosi. 


Jia Choi, a sophomore at Portsmouth High School, worked with Chinosi on this project. She got to see Chinosi at hard work and thought he was very passionate about The Portal. 


Chinosi is in love with the campus of PHS. But to him, it is more than just the physical things that bring such beauty to PHS. He believes student leadership presented in the high school is not something that can be faked or pretended. 

“This high school and campus are the most well kept facilities I’ve seen,” he says. 


Jaclyn Chisholm, a former English teacher, and school leader, has been working with Chinosi all year in administration. When on the board for selecting a new principal, she was looking for an innovative, energized, creative person and someone who puts students first. She believes that Chinosi was the best candidate for that.


“He does a lot of things that I’ve never seen a principal do. He’s a door opener not a door closer,” she says. 


Chinosi has almost completed the full 180 days of school at Portsmouth High School, and in doing so, he has made some fond memories along the way. The Shamrock Ball, a Unified Club-sponsored dance, was a big highlight in his first year at the school. As well as homecoming week, which consisted of spirit week, a pep rally, and a homecoming dance. This was a highlight for him because he had never experienced this before at his prior schools. Another highlight was the talent show that took place at the high school. He was amazed at how many people showed up to this event and how much fun he had. 


There are three things that Chinosi came into the school year that he wanted to achieve and enhance at PHS. One of the three is the organizational part of a high school. “How the organizational structures could help faculty/staff and students and families in new ways,” said Chinosi.


 The second one was the operational part of a high school. “How I could support the positive growth of a strong culture at the high school, such as opportunities to gather and celebrate the amazing work in the classrooms and beyond,” said Chinosi. 


The last one is the curricular part of the high school. He wanted to dive deeper into what the student experience is like and see how he could make it better. He will continue to look into these three things that will allow him to make PHS a better place. 


According to Chinosi, he has a big vision of what he wants the school to

look like; he says visions for organizations should be inspiring and our missions need to be realistic.


The vision he sees for PHS in the coming years is for the school to become the most sought after secondary school in North America. According to Chinosi, he wants to create new ways to support and inspire, have the most talented and committed facility, the best resources, and a great community. He believes there is no better place for a high school than Portsmouth, NH. He says the future is already here, “and the students are savvy enough to help us lead the way to the future of education,” said Chinosi. 


“We are going to be ahead of the curve,” he says. 


A message Chinosi would like to share with the school and community is, “It’s all about discovery. The beauties of the world come through discovery.”