Leaders team up at local school

MIDDLEBURY — The start of classes this week at Mary Hogan Elementary signaled the beginning of a new leadership structure at the Middlebury school.
Longtime Principal Bonnie Bourne and Associate Principal Tom Buzzell are now listed as co-principals. The move, according to ID-4 School Board Chairwoman Lucy Schumer, is intended to better reflect the shared responsibilities at the school.
Ultimately, the change in title does not substantially add to either administrator’s responsibilities, and Bourne — an award-winning principal in her 16th year at Mary Hogan — will have the final say on any split decisions, noted Schumer. Nor does the title change affect the school’s budgetary bottom line. Both Bourne and Buzzell were on board with the co-principalship arrangement, according to ID-4 officials.
Schumer said Addison Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Lee Sease recently floated the title change, and the ID-4 board endorsed it.
“It was more or less an agreement that ‘if this is how the tasks are divided, a co-principalship is a better way to describe the job,’” Schumer said.
Bourne, among other things, will retain oversight over grades K-2, and curricular and assessment responsibilities for the entire school.
Buzzell will retain administrative responsibilities for grades 3-6, as well as for physical education, music, art, library and media, technology and facilities.
“I have been looking for additional leadership roles and responsibilities, and this co-principalship allows me to explore them,” Buzzell said.
In other recent ID-4 news, the school board last month agreed to consider a change in the minimum age threshold at which students can enroll at Mary Hogan Elementary.
Incoming students in ID-4 may attend kindergarten as long as they are set to turn 5 by Dec. 31 of that year. Most other schools in the Addison Central Supervisory Union stipulate that entering kindergarteners turn 5 before Sept. 1, noted Schumer. A change — which parents will have an opportunity to weigh in on —  is being considered to provide more consistency with neighboring schools. The change would also facilitate any future consolidation of ACSU elementary schools, officials noted.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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