On March 30, 2022

KES principal named principal of the year

By Katy Savage

Killington Elementary School Principal Mary Guggenberger has been named principal of the year by the Vermont Principal’s Association.

Guggenberger said she got a call from VPA Executive Director Jay Nichols two weeks ago saying she was nominated and won.

Principal Mary Guggenberger

“I was a little bit floored to tell you the truth,” Guggenberger said.

Guggenberger, 58, has been the principal at Killington Elementary School for seven years and has been in education for nearly 20 years, but Guggenberger said didn’t always see herself working with children. Guggenberger, a lifelong Vermonter, grew up in Leicester. She has a business degree from Lyndon State College and formerly worked in an accounting department. She also worked at Killington Resort for 10 years. She didn’t realize her love for teaching until she became actively involved in her own children’s education as a volunteer at Clarendon Elementary School.

“I fell in love with being with the kids,” she said.

Guggenberger went to the (former) College of St. Joseph and then became a teacher at Christ the King in Rutland in 2003, where she taught for nine years before becoming principal for three.

She took the helm at Killington Elementary in 2015.

Guggenberger has been recognized many times for her excellence in education leadership.

Christ the King was the 2015 recipient of the Innovations in Catholic Education award for technology under her leadership. Guggenberger accepted the award during a reception at the National Catholic Educators Association Convention in Florida. Christ the King was specifically recognized as a leading school for implementing exemplary, innovative programs to improve the teaching and learning of students, faculty, and staff.

Guggenberger now lives in North Clarendon, where her husband owns a cabinet making business, but she spends every day in Killington. She’s at school during the weekdays and skiing on the mountain on the weekends.

“I couldn’t imagine living far away from a ski area,” said Guggenberger. “I work and play in this community.”

She said her outdoor interests make her feel connected to the parents in the area.

“They like the same things that I like, they have the same values that I have,” she said. “I really do feel like I belong here.”

Windsor Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Sherry Sousa nominated Guggenberger for the recognition from the Vermont Principals’ Association in December. Three teachers sent letters of reference as well as a School Board member.

Sousa called Guggenberger a leader for other principals within the district in her nomination letter.

KES has been named an exemplary school for the past three years under Guggenberger’s leadership for its positive behavioral interventions and support program. The program uses positive reinforcement to teach students to follow school rules with a star system. A student gets stars by following directions, such as not running on the playground, or through acts of kindness and generosity.

KES’ second step social/emotional curriculum has also become a standard in all elementary schools in the district. The program teaches students to tolerate each other’s differences and identify their feelings.

Guggenberger credits the guidance counselors at KES for their work with the programs.

Sousa said Guggenberger deeply connects with students, staff and faculty. She said Guggenberger grew up in a modest family, allowing her to connect with children who are less fortunate.

“I went to school in a small town,” Guggenberger said. “I can really identify with families that are working hard and doing the best they can and sometimes they just need a little extra support. I don’t want to see one single kid not have equal opportunities. It doesn’t matter to me what that child’s background is.”

Sousa said Guggenberger is always encouraging of others. “She always has faith in those she works with and strives to bring out their personal best,” Sousa said in her letter.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Robert Hecker appointed to Killington Select Board

May 15, 2024
By Curt Peterson Robert Hecker has been appointed to take Steve Finneron’s seat on the Killington Select Board. The announcement came after an executive session Monday night May 13. The position lasts until next Town Meeting Day vote, when voters will choose the person to fulfill the remaining year of Finneron’s term.  Hecker was one…

Town resolves eminent domain 

May 15, 2024
Deal with landowner called ‘win-win’ By Polly Mikula The town of Killington will not pursue an eminent domain hearing scheduled for May 20, having recently resolved the case with the landowner.  Eva Nagymihaly and her sister, Theresa Rust, own land on the east side at the base of Killington Road to the intersection with Route…

Logging company fined for wetland and water quality impacts in Bridgewater, Thetford

May 15, 2024
The Agency of Natural Resources Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) announced May 8 that Thomson Timber Harvesting and Trucking LLC (Thompson Timber), a company that performs logging activities in Vermont, was fined $32,550 for violating the Vermont Wetland Rules and failing to follow acceptable management practices (AMPs) for…

Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum celebrates expansion

May 15, 2024
By Polly Mikula Saturday, May 11, Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum held a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Merchants Row downtown. While the museum relocated to its current location (66 Merchants Row) last spring, this was the first time the organization has celebrated that expansion. The move allowed Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum to tripled in size with new…