MIDDLEBURY — Addison Central Supervisory Union filled another key leadership position last week in naming Carol Fenimore as new assistant superintendent.
Currently an administrator for an expansive school union in greater- Austin, Texas, Fenimore will succeed longtime ACSU Assistant Superintendent Jan Willey, who is stepping down on June 30.
“I am very excited to become a part of the (ACSU) team,” Fenimore said during a recent telephone interview.
Fenimore has for the past four years served as director of student success initiatives for the E3 Alliance Greater Austin P-16 Council. The P-16 Council, Fenimore explained, monitors student progress from pre-school through college. She said the P-16 Council has enrollment of more than 300,000 students (pre-K through grade 12) spread out in 12 districts.
Fenimore’s resume indicates she is well versed in curriculum development and teacher enrichment initiatives. Her work experience also includes stints as “high school design administrator” at Johnston High School, also in Austin; director of mathematics for the Georgetown Independent School District in Georgetown, Texas; and “executive intern to the superintendent on community relationships” at the Fresno Unified School District in Fresno, Calif.
She earned a bachelor of science in applied mathematics at Brown University and a master of education from Harvard University. She earned a doctor of education from Harvard University.
The ACSU job proved attractive to Fenimore because its demands fit within her expertise and it offers her an opportunity to return to the Northeast. While she has spent the better part of the past 17 years as an instructor or administrator in Texas schools, Fenimore is a native of Albany, N.Y., where she continues to have family. She and her husband, Jacob Safari, were married in 2010 on top of Mount Philo in Vermont.
She is looking forward to beginning her new job.
“A large part of my work with the ACSU will be to work on realigning the curriculum to help ensure that the students will be learning so that they are college- and career-ready when they graduate from high school,” Fenimore said.
She believes her experience will be a good match for the ACSU.
“I am accustomed to working with the leadership of the districts and understanding what their needs are and interests are, and asking, ‘How can we create a unified effort to bring the region into greater student achievement?’” Fenimore said.
In her new job, Fenimore will be coming to a supervisory union that is grappling with declining enrollment, to the extent that its seven member-communities are considering consolidating school governance and resources.
Fenimore, on the other hand, is coming from a region with one of the fastest growing student populations in the country.
“Over a 10-year period, we increased (student population) by 40 percent,” Fenimore said. “It’s a real challenge for the district to even have the buildings for the students, much less the teachers and the campus administrators.”
Fenimore is confident she’ll be able to adapt to a smaller-sized student body.
“Challenges in public education come in all shapes and sizes,” Fenimore said. “It’s a question of how do you work with the folks at hand to understand how we can deal with declining enrollment.”
Gail Conley, ACSU superintendent, selected Fenimore from among three finalists for the job.
“Carol’s education and positive experience is a perfect match for the present and long-term needs for the ACSU,” said Conley. “Her leadership style and her personal interest in working with multiple school boards and multiple communities and schools also matches ACSU needs.”
The hiring of Fenimore is the second significant personnel move made by the ACSU during the past two weeks after some recent turnover. The ACSU board announced earlier this month that Conley has agreed to stay on for another year as the district attempts to find a new superintendent. Conley had agreed last July to serve as an interim for one academic year.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]