New Leadership at Nackey Loeb School


After 20 years at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, David Tirrell-Wysocki is retiring at the end of next month as the non-profit’s executive director.

Laura Simoes, who has worked in journalism, public affairs, marketing and strategic communications, takes over as the school’s fourth executive director on Jan. 1.

Tirrell-Wysocki, a retired Associated Press reporter, was one of the school’s first instructors when the doors opened in 2000 with three classes. He became executive director in 2007 and helped expand the program to 16, six-week classes this year, plus a dozen one-day workshops and partnerships with other statewide groups to benefit journalism and communications in general.

“I am very grateful that the school trusted me as the steward of Mrs. Loeb’s legacy here at the school,” Tirrell-Wysocki said. “I think she would be proud to know that thousands of people have attended programs she inspired — learning about the First Amendment and becoming better communicators.”

Nackey S. Loeb, the late president and publisher of the Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News, founded the non-partisan, non-profit school in Manchester in 1999. Her goal was to promote and defend the First Amendment and foster interest, integrity and excellence in journalism and other forms of communication.

Most of the school’s offerings are free of charge and are taught by media and business professionals from around the state. Students of all ages, including many representatives of New Hampshire non-profit organizations, have taken classes.

“Now more than ever, it feels like an increasingly important time to be working for an organization dedicated to teaching people how to consume, produce and share news and information, as well as working to promote and defend the First Amendment,” Simoes said. “I am honored to continue to good work of Dave Tirrell-Wysocki, my long-time friend and colleague, and I’m eager to advance the mission, along with our board, volunteers, donors, teachers and students.”

For the past 25 years, Simoes has managed communications and public policy campaigns for nonprofits; corporations; and local, state and federal government.  She brings the school a strong background in strategic communications and management.

Simoes is a former staff member for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. With an undergraduate degree in communications and graduate degree in business, she is a candidate for her PhD in Applied Linguistics.

Laura has been an adjunct professor in communications at Southern New Hampshire University since 2014, and is a former selectman, a former state Human Rights commissioner and a current and former leader on statewide nonprofit boards of directors.

“David has brought so much experience and talent to the school from which we will benefit for years to come,” said Joseph McQuaid, the school’s president and chairman of its Board of Trustees. “Laura brings her own strengths and energy to the job and we expect she and the core of teachers here will build on a tremendous and solid foundation.”


The school presented its annual First Amendment honors program last week, recognizing the late Dr. Ed Kois, who prompted changes in VA medical facilities around the country after he led a group of colleagues in exposing poor conditions and treatment at the VA Medical Center in Manchester. The school is the majority owner of Union Leader Corp., publisher of New Hampshire statewide newspapers and, its news and information website.

Registration is open for 2020 offerings at

Photo credit: Geoff Forester


David Tirrell-Wysocki

603-340-3610 (cell)