DeBlois to take the helm at Addison Central School

ADDISON — The Addison Central School Board on Thursday accepted the recommendation of its search committee and Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Tom O’Brien to bring aboard Vergennes Union High School French teacher Matthew DeBlois as the school’s new principal.
As well as teaching French, DeBlois has served on many VUHS committees, played a key role in creating the school’s morning advisory system, and in 2009 was named a Rowland Foundation Fellow, an honor that came with a $100,000 grant.
The ACS board on Friday morning released a statement through Chairwoman Michele Kelly indicating members were happy with the choice and hoped a deal could be struck soon for what has been a 60-percent position in the past year.
“The Addison Central School board is pleased to offer our part-time principal position to Matthew DeBlois, pending contract negotiations,” the statement said.
O’Brien said he has the final authority to make the recommendation, but that it reflected a consensus of a search committee that included two board members, three ACS teachers, two ACS support staff members, two students and two Addison residents.
“Ultimately it’s my choice, but I try to coincide with the committee’s findings as well,” he said.
Assuming contract details are ironed out, DeBlois, a 1997 graduate of St. Lawrence University who earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 2001, will replace ACS Principal and ANwSU Associate Superintendent Wayne Howe.
Howe spent more than a decade as the fulltime ACS principal, and the past year his job description called for a 60-40 split between ACS and the ANwSU office, respectively. Howe has taken the job as principal of the 300-student Northfield Elementary School, beginning this summer.
O’Brien said he is confident an agreement would be worked out with DeBlois, and that it would include benefits. ACS paid Howe $53,000 this past school year, O’Brien said.
O’Brien said the search committee interviewed four of the six applicants, and one of those four candidates withdrew. DeBlois stood out, he said, because of the leadership role he has taken at VUHS and his strong community involvement in his hometown of Ferrisburgh, including participating in the Ferrisburgh Central School parent-teacher organization and math club, and coaching youth basketball and baseball. He has also coached baseball and basketball at VUHS.
“I think (he stood out because of) his obvious leadership skills that he has demonstrated at least at the high school, and his involvement in the communities of Addison Northwest,” O’Brien said.
DeBlois — whose hours at VUHS are proposed to be cut by 20 percent in the VUHS budget proposal adopted last week — has taught French at VUHS since January 2001 and has been involved in a number of committees and initiatives at that school:
•  In 2009, he was named a Rowland Fellow, earning the $100,000 grant that is being used to refine and support the school’s morning advisory/callback system that allows teachers to support students and intervene quickly when they are struggling. He also coordinates the advisory program.
•  He is the facilitator of the VUHS “Connect the Dots” program and the manager of its “Green Mountain Star” process, both of which are intended to assess the school’s strengths and weaknesses and improve it overall.
•  Since 2007 he has been a mentor to new ANwSU teachers.
•  He has served as chairman of the world language department since 2010.

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