Mt. Abe restructuring its leadership ranks

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School board has reconfigured the leaderships at the Bristol school, a move that could cut costs.
The change comes as Co-Principal Leon Wheeler next year will leave to become principal at Winooski High School and Dean of Students Nancy Yannette also will leave Mount Abe.
At a meeting last Wednesday, the board took four steps in the wake of their imminent departures. It decided to do away with the two dean of students positions; made the other dean of students, Kristine Evarts, a co-principal; appointed Ellen Repstad as the other co-principal; and elevated Co-principal Andy Kepes to the top administrative job, which will have the title building principal.
The administrative team dropped from four to three to help the school cut costs, said Kepes.
“Our (enrollment) numbers are dropping, but it’s in great part a budgetary move,” he said. “The trick will be dividing the work among (a smaller group) and delegating out some of that work as well. It’s a good group, and a strong team is always the secret.”
Superintendent Evelyn Howard said specific salary changes from the administrative reorganizing haven’t yet been ironed out.
While Evarts will deal with students in grades 9-12, Repstad will work with the middle school students in grades 7-8.
One of the chief reasons the board chose Repstad is that she has taught English and literacy at Mount Abe for almost a decade and is helping to reshape the school’s method for evaluating students.
Lanny Smith, chair of the school board, is extremely happy with the decision.
“Her love of Mount Abraham is undeniable,” he said. “She’s really involved with the school and has a desire to see Mount Abe succeed. We had great candidates. She was just the cream of the crop. She is excellent.”
Repstad said that she wants to strengthen the transitional services for students moving into the middle school setting so that they’re more prepared. She’s also planning to expand experiential learning offerings at the middle school level.
Repstad said she applied for the position because she was ready to help lead Mount Abe into the 21st century.
“I’ve been working with this community for almost 10 years, and I’ve been heavily involved with many improvements at the school,” she said. “When the opportunity came up … I decided it was time to step up and become even more involved than I have been.”
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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