By Katy Savage
A new principal has started her position at Barstow Memorial School.
Bianca McKeen, who has worked in Rutland city schools since 2003, was chosen among 13 applicants.
“Ultimately, Bianca was chosen through this extensive process for her demonstrated leadership skills in other education positions, her commitment to the community and her excellent instructional leadership track record,” said Superintendent Jeanne Collins.
McKeen, 36, comes with numerous teaching awards and recognitions. She was named a University of Vermont Outstanding Teacher for Rutland City in 2017 and Outstanding Vermont Science Teacher of the Year K-8 from the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering in 2012.
McKeen was also Rowland Fellow in 2016, allowing her to develop an internship program with her colleagues for Rutland high school students. Students were paired with mentors in Rutland area, such as physical therapists, doctors and real estate agents where they completed a 60-hour internship.
“We felt that was one of the things missing from the other comprehensive program in Rutland High School,” she said.” I wanted students to see that they had a future in Rutland County.”
McKeen has worked with all grade levels, from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Her favorite is elementary children.
“You’re helping to shape young individuals,” she said. “There are many opportunities for them, both in the local community, and in the larger world and it’s important that they learn to interact with other people.”
McKeen studied theater arts and chemistry at Castleton University before she received a master’s degree in elementary education from from the College of St. Joseph.
Her husband is also a physical education in teacher in Addison County.
McKeen started her position July 1. She is taking over from former principal Renee Castillo was there for three years. Before Castillo, Karen Prescott, who was principal more than a decade.
McKeen is a local face. Out of college, McKeen worked at Killington Elementary School where she taught kindergarten as a long-term substitute.
She knows many of the students and families in the area through her own children’s, sporting activities.
McKeen grew up in the Rutland area. She remembers Barstow as a child. “The school has always had a strong tradition of doing wonderful things ,” she said.