Sessions is selected as Cornwall school leader
CORNWALL — The Cornwall Elementary School board’s search for an interim principal has ended virtually within shouting distance of the school.
Longtime Cornwall resident and former Salisbury Elementary School Principal Abi Sessions has been picked to lead the Bingham Memorial School during the next academic year.
“I am really excited to work with the Cornwall School staff, to get to know the students and families, and to help facilitate a smooth transition to a permanent principal at Bingham Memorial School,” Sessions said through a written statement issued on Friday through the Addison Central Supervisory Union. “As an interim leader, my role will be supporting the great work happening in Cornwall and reaching out to the community to continue the tradition of integrated, community-wide support for Cornwall School.”
Sessions will replace Bingham Memorial Principal Susan Hackett, who is stepping down from in order to help her husband convalesce from a serious illness. She will continue to work within the ACSU as a part-time literacy specialist. Meanwhile, ACSU and Cornwall officials will spend the next academic year searching for a permanent principal for the Bingham school.
Peter Burrows, ACSU superintendent, said Sessions emerged as a solid and logical choice for the interim job.
“Our job was to find an interim who is familiar with the community and an administrator who knows the ACSU and our system,” Burrows said on Friday. “Abi is a perfect fit. She has a deep understanding of the community and the school and will do a great job stewarding the school as we look for the next principal.”
During her lengthy carry in education in Vermont, Sessions has worked as a school librarian in Ripton and Sudbury, as an elementary school teacher in Shoreham, as a teacher trainer for the Vermont Department of Education, and as a principal in Salisbury, Roxbury and at the Sustainability Academy in Burlington’s Old North End. She retired from the academy three years ago, which under Sessions’ leadership became a magnet school for the city.
She is excited to take the help of her local school.
“Cornwall School has an excellent reputation, and I anticipate that working in my own community will be a joy,” Sessions said, noting she and her husband’s three children attended classes there. Her husband is U.S. District Court William Sessions.
“Our whole family has many fond memories of learning and playing in the supportive Cornwall School community,” she said. “Some of our closest Cornwall friends were made at the time our children were at school together. I hope the same kind of memories and close connections are being made today in a dynamic and caring school community where children are challenged to take risks, to learn, and to make the world a better place.”
Sessions began her career as a Montessori teacher, and said she still feels deeply influenced by Montessori’s philosophy of respect for the dignity of each child’s unique path to learning and the value of hands-on learning.
“Beginning in late July, I hope I can meet individually with each staff member and with many of the families,” Sessions said of her immediate plans. “I want to know what works at Cornwall School and what needs attention. I want to know how I can support each staff member to do their best work. I want to know how to best focus my work in support of student learning.”
Once her one-year commitment is fulfilled, she plans to return to the commitments she will have to let go for a year, such as coordinator of the Everybody Wins! reading mentoring program at Salisbury School, proprietor of Good Life Gardens, teacher of Memories to Memoirs, and cheese packer at Blue Ledge Farm in Leicester.
But for now, her focus is on Bingham Memorial.
“One of my retirement goals was to reconnect with my town,” Sessions said. “I guess this will.”
Cornwall is one of two ACSU elementary schools that will function next year with interim leaders. The other is Bridport Central, where former Mary Hogan Elementary School Principal Bonnie Bourne and current Ripton Elementary Principal Tracey Harrington will co-manage the school in wake of the departure of Principal Kathleen Kilbourne, who is taking the top administrative post at Castleton Elementary School.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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