Bridport, Ripton will look for new principals

BRIDPORT — School directors in Bridport and Ripton are looking for new principals to fill impending leadership vacancies in their respective elementary schools.
Bridport Central Principal Georgette Childs and Marta Beede, leader of Ripton Elementary School, recently confirmed they will be stepping down at the end of this academic year.
Childs will be capping a 41-year career as an educator, with all but eight of those years spent in Vermont schools — mainly in the Manchester area. She arrived at Bridport Central nine years ago after having served as a teaching principal at Brookline Elementary School in Newfane.
“It gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about a variety of roles,” Childs said of her experience at Brookline, which occasionally included buying milk for the school at the local store.
Childs learned about the Bridport vacancy and saw it as a good career challenge as well as a prime opportunity to be closer to family.
She has not regretted the decision.
“I have enjoyed seeing the students grow and working with a dynamic, dedicated staff,” Childs said.
She acknowledged there were some challenges along the way. Childs has seen some budget defeats, and voters also rejected an initial $1.25 million school improvement bond before eventually endorsing a trimmed-down $550,000 version two years ago.
“Thankfully, the bond passed, and it has made a big difference in the school,” Childs said of the work.
She has also been pleased to see the community embrace major renovations to the school playground. Organizers just put in a new, large play structure. The next phase will involve putting in smaller play structures for the youngest students. Ultimately, the Bridport School-Community Playground Committee would like to tie the play area in with the nearby baseball, soccer and horseshoe playing fields, as well as the local tennis courts.
“We are hoping to make it a place the entire community can use,” said Childs, who will follow the project in retirement — or at least semi-retirement, as she doesn’t foresee many idle days ahead for herself.
“I figure I will take a couple of months off this summer and figure out what I’d like to do next,” Childs said. “But I can’t picture myself not getting up and doing something. I am not one to sit around.”
She anticipates staying involved in the field of education on a part-time basis.
Local school officials will be sorry to see her go.
“Georgette has set the stage for long-term academic success and our professional staff is excellent, primarily as a result of her personnel decisions over the last nine years,” said Bridport School Board Chairman Rick Scott. “The board, the staff and the community wish her all the best.”
The search for the next Bridport principal is under way. The board has already held a public forum to discuss qualities the new leader should possess. The search will be spearheaded by a newly formed search committee, chaired by ACSU Superintendent Lee Sease and comprised of community members, teachers and a school director. The committee has received several resumes and will soon interview candidates, according to Scott.
Meanwhile, Ripton school board directors are also looking for a new leader in wake of Beede’s decision to step down to seek full-time employment. The Ripton Elementary job is a 60-percent position.
Beede joined the school two years ago. Prior to that, she taught elementary education, literacy instruction and early childhood education courses at Johnson State College and the Community College of Vermont. She is former director of the Bellweather School in Williston and also taught at the University of Vermont, where she received her doctorate in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. She previously worked for IBM and Coopers and Lybrand in their education divisions.
She said of her decision to leave: “I will be forever grateful that I have been able to be a part of the Ripton School. This is a school with tremendous potential. For me, it will be difficult to move on because once you have begun an educational journey with students and their support team, the desire is there to continue on this journey.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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