Opinion: Experienced school director seeks unified board seat
My wife Robin and I have been active members of the Bridport community for the last 15 years; the two youngest of our five children are currently Middlebury Union High School students. The Bridport position I seek is a one-year term that coincides with the first and formative year of the new district.
The work of this board during the first year will be critical to its future success. The board will be establishing policy, negotiating new contracts, establishing a budget and addressing known and yet-to-be-discovered issues associated with this transition. I believe the experience I have earned as a business owner and as an active school board member will be valuable in this endeavor.
I have served on Addison Central Supervisory Union school boards for the past seven years, I’m currently serving on the UD-3 (Middlebury Union middle and high schools) board, where I sit on the facilities committee, and as a delegate to the ACSU board. I am currently chairman of the ACSU board and the Executive Committee. The ACSU board has responsibility for all centralized operations including curriculum and special education. We are the first stop in policy adoption for all districts, and are responsible for recruiting, hiring and evaluating the superintendent of schools.
My experience has been further bolstered by my past and current committee work. I was first elected to the Bridport board in 2009; I assumed the role of vice chair and ACSU delegate. In my second year I was elected chair of the Bridport board. For the ACSU, I chaired an exploratory committee to consider whether we should form a study committee to consider unification. I went on to chair the RED study committee and led that group through a broad public engagement process that brought over 350 of our neighbors together to discuss our expectations and hopes for public education.
Ultimately the committee decided it wasn’t the right time to pursue consolidation. However, the findings of the committee have informed the work of the current Charter Committee and have contributed to the development of our Strategic Plan. I have helped develop our current mission and vision statements and have served as a member of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. I’m currently chairman of the ACSU Negotiation Council and the ACSU representative to the Addison/Rutland Regional Bargaining Council, work that is has direct implications for the new district.
In unification, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to take our students to new heights. I’ve been thinking about this for much of the last seven years, and the possibilities are exciting and inspiring. The goals we aspire to meet: achieving educational equity across elementary schools, closing the achievement gap, and preparing all of our students to be engaged and productive citizens will become much more attainable as a single district.
I believe in public education and have gladly devoted abundant time, energy, intellect and heart to this work. I look forward to continuing to do so and believe I can contribute greatly during this transitional year. Voters in every ACSU town are eligible to vote for candidates in every town; I will very much appreciate your vote on March 1.
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