Monkton school principal to stay on the job

MONKTON — The Monkton Central School board unanimously renewed the contract of its principal on Monday during a special meeting.
Susan Stewart, who has been the principal at the school since 2010, will continue to head the school next year.
School board chair Dawn Griswold issued a statement Tuesday morning explaining the board’s choice.
“This decision was based on review of our policies, procedures, state law, recent input and the recommendation of the superintendent,” the statement read. “We strongly encourage everyone to work with open minds to move forward.”
The renewal of Stewart’s contract was being closely watched by some in the community after about half of the teachers at the school left at the end of the last school year.
Resident Joan Holloway, whose three children attended the school, praised the board for renewing Stewart’s contract.
“I think it was a good thing,” Holloway said. “I think we have a really great school, great teachers and a great community, and I hope everybody will move forward.”
Speaking before Stewart’s contract was renewed, Monkton resident Stephen Pilcher praised Stewart’s work.
“All my interactions with her have been great, and professional,” said Pilcher, who is chairman of the selectboard. “She comes very highly recommended to me through people I trust.”
The board had previously planned to decide on Stewart’s contract at a March 19 meeting, but several faculty members asked the board to delay making a decision.
In a letter, teachers Virginia McLane and Stephanie Murray said they were concerned that the climate in the school had not adequately improved since last year, when nine teachers left the school for a variety of reasons.
“We met with Superintendent David Adams on March 5, informing him of concerns we continue to have, that adequate progress in building a more positive climate has not been made,” the letter stated. “We ask you to consider the option to table the agenda item … until it is clear that substantial progress has been made.”
The board agreed to postpone their decision and scheduled a special meeting for Monday, for the sole purpose of discussing Stewart’s contract. During that meeting, the board discussed Stewart’s contract in executive session and ultimately decided to renew it.
The board addressed the Monkton faculty in its release on Tuesday.
“The board acknowledges the work of the staff in adhering to policy to raise matters of concern,” the statement read. “We also appreciate the staff’s ongoing commitment to the students of our school.”

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