ACSU fills 25 positions, prepares for school year

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) will start the 2012-2013 academic year with 25 new faces, including a substantially revamped central office that will soon be led by a new superintendent.
New central office hires include Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Development Carol Fenimore; Business Manager Laura Nassau; Linda Darrow, coordinator of early childhood services; Jason LaMora, director of technology; and Susan English, associate director of student services.
Two of these positions (assistant superintendent, business manager) were vacated amid controversy; others became open due to routine turnover.
The new hires give ACSU Superintendent Dr. Gail Conley a full team for the first time since he joined the district a year ago.
“As I look forward to my second year, there is a positive excitement because of some of the talented people who will be joining us…” Conley said on Monday.
A variety of other new faces will join the ACSU, which includes Middlebury Union Middle School, Middlebury Union High School and the elementary schools in Bridport, Cornwall, Salisbury, Shoreham, Ripton, Middlebury and Weybridge.
Bridport Central School will welcome four new faculty members, including student services director Donald Fagnant, special educator Joseph McDaniel, physical education teacher Daniel Muller and art teacher Trina Zide.
Joining Mary Hogan Elementary School in Middlebury will be physical education teacher Sabrina Butterfield and classroom teacher Fiona Corrigan.
Shoreham Elementary will welcome physical education teacher Rumsey Torrey, while Catherine Ott joins Weybridge Elementary as music teacher.
Meanwhile, MUMS has hired physical education teacher Justin Martelle, English/language arts teacher Elise McCormick, and new Dean of Students/Activities Director Jennefer Eaton. Eaton replaces Patrick Reen, who recently took over for former MUMS Principal Inga Duktig.
Nurse Elissa Close, Spanish teacher Natasha Causton and psychologist Kelly Armstrong will also be serving schools within the district.
Rounding out the hires are four support staff.
“These (new hires) come from wide ranging backgrounds,” Conley said.
Case in point: Fenimore, who officially began her duties as assistant superintendent after 21 years as an educator and administrator in Texas, California and the West Indies. She most recently served as director of student success initiatives for the E3 Alliance Greater Austin P-16 Council. The P-16 Council serves more than 300,000 students (pre-K through grade 12) spread out in 12 districts in Austin.
“It’s a very exciting time to be here,” Fenimore said, noting one of her primary tasks will be to help make sure the ACSU curriculum matches up with state and federal education standards and achievement benchmarks.
In the meantime, Fenimore has been making the rounds to each of the ACSU schools to get familiar with the district.
“I love that each town has its own elementary school and I very much appreciate the service that the principals and teachers deliver to the communities and I am going to do whatever I can to support them,” she said.
“I think we are going to do very well.”
LaMora comes to the ACSU from the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union, where he served as director of educational advancement and technology integration specialist. He grew up in Glens Falls, N.Y., where he continues to reside.
During his short time on board, LaMora has been visiting ACSU schools to get a first-hand glimpse of their computer equipment, and determine how it could be improved in a cost-effective manner.
“I am thrilled to be here,” LaMora said. “I have had a good, warm welcome.”
Laura Nassau is the “veteran” of the new crop of administrative hires, having been on board since February. She most recently served as business manager of the Chittenden East Supervisory Union (CESU) in Richmond, a job she held since 2002.
ACSU officials are optimistic Nassau’s hiring will bring stability to a job that has been in flux for the past few years. Nassau’s most immediate predecessor, Paula VanMinos, resigned this past winter after not reporting to work for several weeks while dealing with a family illness. Sharon Stearns, VanMinos’s predecessor, resigned in 2011 after having been placed on administrative leave.
“It was a mutually serendipitous opportunity,” Nassau said of the timing of the business manager opening. “I was ready for a change.”
While the ACSU has hired a lot of new employees, district officials have one more major search left: superintendent. Conley has agreed to serve out this coming school year, but has served notice he would like to have a successor in place as soon as possible so that he can re-enter retirement. Conley said the search is likely to get into full swing in October or November, with candidate interviews during the winter and a finalist selected next spring.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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