MIDDLEBURY — Mary Hogan Elementary School Board Director James Callahan has resigned from the position to which he was elected on March 4, citing a disagreement with board Chairwoman Ruth Hardy.
Callahan claimed that he was cut off from speaking on issues and verbally resigned at the ID-4 school board’s April 17 meeting. On Thursday, Callahan confirmed that he had not yet submitted a letter of resignation and is considering rescinding his decision.
“It’s been not nice at all,” Callahan said of his brief time on the board.
In a statement for the newspaper, Callahan wrote, “I was elected by the people of Middlebury, many of whom had shared concerns with and I knew after the second meeting the chairperson was not going to allow me to share these concerns.”
Callahan, 78, served as principal of the ID-4 schools from 1970 to 1983. He has more than 50 years’ experience as a math teacher at area schools, primarily at the elementary and junior high levels. He had cited improving students’ math performance and promoting fiscal responsibility as his top priorities as a board member.
Hardy responded to Callahan’s statement with the following written comment:
“The ID#4 Board is engaged in a significant amount of exciting work as we navigate curricular, legislative, and administrative changes,” she wrote. “We are committed to collaborating positively with our excellent administrators, teachers, families, and community members, as we lead the Mary Hogan School through this important time. We’re sorry that Mr. Callahan did not feel he could work productively with other board members and administrators, but we wish him the best as he moves on.”
Meanwhile, the ID-4 board is proceeding with plans to recruit a new board member who would be appointed to fill the remaining 34 months of the three-year term that Callahan won in a contested race on Town Meeting Day. In what was a four-person race for three seats, Amy Graham was the top vote-getter with 873 votes, followed by Callahan with 848, Lorraine Gonzalez Morse with 776. Jennifer McCarty finished out of the running with 732 tallies.
Hardy said the board is seeking applicants for the position who are “collaborative, open-minded, and able to think creatively about how best to serve our students. The ideal candidate would have some understanding of the complexities of the Vermont educational governance structure, or the time and desire to learn, and who would work cooperatively with our highly qualified administrators and with board members from other ACSU schools. The ID-4 Board has firmly established itself as a positive, proactive and ethical board. We work extremely well together and we accomplish a lot in a short period of time. We would like someone to join us in this tradition.”
Letters of interest, due by May 12, can be sent to Hardy c/o Mary Hogan School, Mary Hogan Drive, Middlebury, VT 05753, or via email to [email protected]. The board hopes to fill the vacancy at its May 19 meeting.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]