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Brodie to take charge as principal of Ferrisburgh Central School

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Posted on March 21, 2016 |
By Andy Kirkaldy



FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh Central School board on Thursday chose to offer a principal’s contract to a current Burlington middle-school language teacher who has three years of experience as an assistant middle school principal and seven years of experience as an elementary school board member.

Edmunds Middle School French and Spanish teacher Beth Brodie and Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Superintendent JoAn Canning began discussing contract details immediately for Brodie to take over as the new educational leader at Ferrisburgh Central this summer.

Current principal JoAnne Taft-Blakely will retire at the end of the school year after nine years at FCS.

Canning on Friday morning said Brodie had accepted the job. Although Canning said at that point she and Brodie still needed to negotiate a contract, she was “very confident that will happen.”

The search committee and Canning recommended on Thursday night to the board that it hire Brodie, a Burlington resident, as the best candidate among the finalists for the position.

Brodie told the Independent that she was excited to come to Ferrisburgh.

“What really attracted me to Ferrisburgh Central School was the tremendous community support the school enjoys and how the parents and teachers seem unified in wanting to provide an education that celebrates the whole child,” she wrote in a Friday email. “I am excited about working with the school and greater community to bring a sense of community, personalization and excellence to the educational process.”

As well as Brodie’s extensive résumé, Canning also praised Brodie’s personal and leadership qualities.

“During the interview process Beth was very relatable. She was able to leave a very positive impression on students, on faculty and also on the parents,” Canning said. “Beth has a doctorate in educational leadership. She had taken on a number of roles as a leader.”

Canning praised Taft-Blakely and her tenure, citing such initiatives as a positive behavior intervention system. 

“JoAnne certainly left her mark on Ferrisburgh Central School. She has certainly worked to bring the faculty together,” Canning said. “I’m sure the kids and the families and the faculty will miss her.”

Brodie, a 1983 graduate of Bowdoin College who has a Doctorate of Education from the University of Vermont, spent the past five years at Edmunds Middle School in Burlington, during which she also served several years as a graduate teaching fellow at UVM and one year as a grant-funded Family-School Partnership Research Fellow for the Burlington-Winooski Partnership for Change.

Brodie spent the bulk of her career, 22 years, at Twin Valley High School in Wilmington, which according to her résumé she left to move to northern Vermont to be closer to her family.

While at Twin Valley she served three years as its middle school assistant principal and seven years as a Dover Elementary School board member. There she also served as an adviser to the student council and Scholars’ Bowl team, worked as an advisory coordinator, Foundation for Excellent Schools liaison and mentor program coordinator.

In her cover letter to the FCS principal search committee, Brodie said she is “highly proficient with technology” and touted her experience on the school board: “I developed a deep understanding of the administrative complexities of K-12 curriculum, education finance, budgeting and policy through my work as a seven-year member of the Dover school board and as a NEASC chair for accreditation.”

Brodie wrote her recent experience in Burlington included “supervision of new teachers,” “leading school change” and “creating structures that encourage family-school partnerships.”

She described herself as “an excellent team player and a seasoned leader” who has “worked successfully on numerous teams on the local and statewide level to help move my school community forward.” Those included student-led conferences and electronic student portfolios for her language classes in Burlington and a “comprehensive advisory program” and a “New Teacher Seminar and mentoring program” at Twin Valley.

Brodie also described an inclusive leadership style: “I am a firm believer that people are more committed to programs when they feel their voices have been heard. Taking the time to work collaboratively is time rarely wasted.”

Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]

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