By Katy Savage
After an initial search for candidates was unsuccessful, the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union board found its next superintendent within.
Kristin Hubert, who has been the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the past three years, will take the helm of the supervisory union on July 1.
Hubert, who said she wasn’t initially interested in the position, applied when the superintendent search reopened in February.
“After having conversations with my colleagues and thinking about what plan ‘B’ was going to be for us, I decided to throw my hat into the ring,” Hubert said. “I’m excited to be a superintendent who has a strong background in curriculum.”
Hubert, 44, will replace the retiring Jeanné Collins, who has been in education for 41 years and with the district for eight years.
Hubert grew up in Castleton. She has bachelor of arts degrees in English and elementary education from the University of Vermont, a masters of art in educational leadership from Castleton University and an educational doctorate in curriculum, teaching, learning and leading from Northeastern University.
Hubert was a teacher in Fair Haven for five years, where she taught language arts to a variety of grade levels, including first, second, fourth and middle school students. She was also an athletic director and basketball and soccer coach before she became an elementary principal for 13 years in Rutland and Arlington. In 2016, Hubert was named to the National Distinguished Elementary Principal program.
Hubert also has experience teaching future principals. She taught new and aspiring principals at the Upper Valley Institute and she is an adjunct faculty member in principal preparation at Castleton University. She has served on a number of committees, including the Vermont Principal’s Association, Vermont Equity Advisory Panel and the Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association.
“I always knew I wanted to be in education,” Hubert said. “I always knew I wanted to teach kids. Kids are at the heart of doing what I do.”
Despite her vast experience, Hubert said her role as superintendent will require her to be more community involved — different from her current position.
“The work of a curriculum director is very middle management,” she said. “I work mostly with teachers and building leaders. Getting to know families, getting to know community stakeholders more broadly, that’s a big change between what I do now and what I will do as superintendent.”
There are about 1,500 students in the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, which includes Otter Valley Union High/Middle School, Barstow Memorial School, Lothrop Elementary School, Neshobe Elementary School, and Otter Creek Academy.
Although Hubert wasn’t part of the initial pool of applicants, School Board chair Laurie Bertrand said she was an ideal match.
“We feel like we are in a really great position with the administration team we have,” said Bertrand.
The superintendent search committee initially hired Zach McLaughlin, the superintendent of Springfield School District in February, but McLaughlin turned down the position for another role in New Hampshire. McLaughlin was one of six candidates and one of three interviewed.
Bertrand said board members were considering a number of options if they couldn’t find a viable candidate. They considered asking Collins to not fully retire right away. They even considered making Hubert interim superintendent as there were already plans to give Hubert more duties. Hubert was going to move to a newly-created associate superintendent position next year in addition to being the curriculum director.
“We were just trying to find things that would work for us as an SU,” Bertrand said. “We knew that it was going to be tough. The superintendent pool of applicants is very small.”
Hubert was one of two applicants in the second round and the only person interviewed. She was hired after a community public forum.
“We were actually really excited to interview her,” Bertrand said. “She has been our second in command as the director of curriculum.”
Bertrand said the other person who applied was from out of state and did not have superintendent experience.
“We just did not feel that they were a good fit for us,” she said. Bertrand said they have not settled on a salary yet for Hubert. The budget for the superintendent position is $145,000.
Bertrand expected Hubert, who is well-known in the school district, to thrive as superintendent.
“People really respect her in our schools already,” Bertrand said. “She listens.”