On May 2, 2018

Back to Square One in Cavendish principal search

By Stephen Seitz

CAVENDISH — Cavendish Town Elementary School is once again looking for an interim principal.

The position became available with the retirement of current principal George Thomson, who will remain on the job until June 30.

“We went through the search process for an interim principal,” said Meg Powden, the superintendent for the Two Rivers Supervisory Union. “We had two finalists, but one withdrew from consideration. The board offered the position to the other finalist, but she declined. Now the board has to determine next steps.”

The situation arises as Cavendish and the other towns in the new Green Mountain Unified School District – Andover, Baltimore, and Chester – are preparing for when the district officially takes over on July 1.

As the GMUSD board developed its first budget, it decided to have a dean of students rather than a principal. The dean of students would answer to Chester-Andover Elementary School Principal Katherine Fogg.

A number of Cavendish residents object to this and on April 23 launched an online petition, as well as postings in town offices and local businesses. They also sent an e-mail to Powden, who then forwarded it to the GMUHS board chair, Marilyn Mahusky, who scheduled a special meeting for April 30 to discuss the matter.

The e-mail reads:

Meg Powden,

In response to the lack of effective candidates brought to the Cavendish community in the search of the interim CTES principal, along with the outcome of the only remaining candidate not accepting the offer, we are asking you as the Superintendent to immediately reinstate the CTES principal position as Permanent and Full-Time.

We released a petition online as well as within local business and town offices in Cavendish, Chester, Baltimore, and Andover, which asks people to sign if they align to this statement:

“As a resident in a community that is part of the Green Mountain Unified School District, I am signing this petition to ask the board to immediately and publicly reinstate the position of principal at Cavendish Town Elementary School to a permanent, full-time position, and to re-open the search for candidates for this position.”

After only a few days, we have over 200 signatures and counting. With each passing day, the groundswell of those adding their names to the petition grows. Reinstating a permanent principal position is clearly the will of the voters.

The role of principal is critical to promoting a sense of community; consistency for parents, students and teachers; excellence in education; and minimizing the negative effects of the changes our district has seen with the Act 46 consolidation.

You have the chance to gain the support of the community by doing what we know is right for our school and our town. Therefore, we request that you immediately change the job posting to full-time and permanent, dropping “interim.”

If this is a GMUSD decision, we ask that you call an emergency GMUSD board meeting this week to approve of this change.

Denise Reilly-Hughes, Margo Caulfield, Carolyn Solzhenitsyn, Sara Stowell, Sara Cook, Abraham Gross, Amanda Gross, Kevin Hughes, Julia Gignoux, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Robert Naess.

Those wishing to keep up with news regarding this should keep an eye on the local e-newsletter, Cavendish Connects at cavendishconnects.com.

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