District School Board votes in new chair, co-chair
Mary Beth Banios, superintendent of the Windsor Central Union School District, announced that she will be leaving the district in an email to school board members, Wednesday, March 25.
Banios told the board that she had gotten the job as superintendent at Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District, in Wenham, Massachusetts, and would be starting there on July 1, 2020.
Banios has been superintendent of the Windsor Central Supervisory Union in Woodstock for the past three years. She was among four finalists for the position at Hamilton-Wenham. She found out she had been selected for the job on Tuesday night, March 24.
“I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to serve this district over the past three years, and have great respect for all the invested and committed individuals who are working so hard on behalf of our students,” Banios wrote to the board. “Please know that I will continue to focus on my work here at WCSU and serving our communities through the end of the school year. There is also an amazing leadership team in place in this district which is well poised to help to successfully navigate this transition.”
Banios’s contract would have ended June 30, 2020, according board members, but at one point a contract had been floated for years longer.
Board elects new chair
After some internal gamesmanship, the WCSD board successfully elected Bryce Sammel as chair of the Windsor Central Modified Unified Union School District Board and Pamela Fraser as vice chair at the Monday board meeting, March 23. Both will serve until March 2021, when their chairmanships end.
Sammel was elected unanimously by the board. Fraser won the vice chair position over Ben Ford, of Woodstock, in a 10-5 vote.
The board briefly considered, then rejected, a motion to do away with the vice chair position or to have two vice chairs.
Sammel and Fraser are both from Barnard and are mid-way through serving their three-year terms for that town. Sammel’s term end in 2021; Fraser’s in 2022.
The election followed resignations from two other board members: former chair Patti Kuzmickas of Pomfret, who had been elected chair March 9, and Malena Agin of Woodstock. Their open seats will be filled by the Select Board from each of their towns.
Kuzmickas stepped down as chair the day after being elected amid claims of a flawed nomination process from a few fellow board members. On March 11, she resigned from the board altogether. Agin gave her resignation from the board shortly afterward as a result of Kuzmickas’ treatment and a fair election that was foiled.