Bristol teacher to lead Addison Central School

ADDISON — The Addison Central School board agreed last week to hire as its next principal a Bristol Elementary School teacher who also coordinates its Afterschool Expanded Learning Program.
Travis Park, who in 2007 earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Utah Valley State College and in 2011 received his master’s in education administration from New England College, will this summer replace Matthew DeBlois. DeBlois was recently hired as the new Vergennes Union Elementary School principal.
In hiring Park, the Addison Central board accepted the recommendation of both Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Superintendent JoAn Canning and the school’s principal search committee.
Canning said the opening drew nine applicants, five of whom were interviewed. She said she was “pleased with the quality of the field,” but that she and committee and community members all focused on Park’s qualities and commitment to the position.
Canning also noted that Park has family ties to the area: In an email to the Independent, Park wrote, “Our growing family led my wife and I back to Addison County, close to her family’s home,” after he started his teaching career in New Hampshire.
“What made Travis stand out was his ability to connect with the kids, the faculty and with the community when he came for a site visit,” Canning said. “He had a very clear plan on how he would get to know the Addison Central School and the people in the town of Addison. He showed a commitment to being visible not just at school events, but at community events. People like that he’s from Addison County. He knows the context. He has relatives here. They felt he would be making a commitment to the school, a multiple-year commitment.”
Canning said ACS teachers appreciated that Park has experience as a 6th-grade science teacher in Portsmouth, N.H, from 2007 to 2011; while in Bristol he has taught in kindergarten and from grades 3 through 6.
“He’s been in a classroom, and the teachers really liked that,” she said. “When he’s acting as an administrator giving them feedback on their instruction, it’s nice to know he’s been there.”
Park, who in his cover letter said he first decided to become a teacher at the age of 22 when he substitute taught in Addison County, said the community feel of ACS and Addison immediately caught his attention when he decided to look for a principal post.
“The first thing that attracted me to the ACS position was a litany of shared values noted on the job posting; for example, ACS and I share a vision when it comes to community and school collaboration,” Park wrote in his email. “I believe that a school is as strong as its community and the school is the heart of the community.”
The hiring process confirmed his first impression, and Park said he is eager to get started this summer.
“It was clear to me during my interview that the school community is invested in the holistic education of each individual student; we share the belief that a student must be supported at school, at home, and within the community for a student to thrive,” he said. “I am excited to work with such an invested group of teachers, staff members, family and community members who share the same overall goal of helping our children be successful in all aspects of their life.”
Park’s experience as the “academic enrichment leader” of the Bristol Elementary afterschool program might have prepared him for administrative leadership.
According to his résumé, tasks for that position including recruiting, hiring and evaluating instructors; dealing with workshop proposals; organizing enrollment, transportation and classroom space; attending and providing meetings and training; organizing community presentations; blogging and handling PR; communicating with parents; and dealing with behavioral issues.
In his cover letter, Park wrote that in that post, “I have either served, worked directly with or supervised every stakeholder at the school. It has been a choice experience and opportunity. I have seen this program positively impact students, families, and the culture at Bristol Elementary School.”
He also served on the Bristol Elementary School Advisory Team and its Technology and “PLE” committees; the latter committee dealt with behavior intervention and school culture issues. He also serves on the larger school district’s Wellness Enhancement Team.
Asked what else folks in Addison should know about him, Park responded, “I began my teaching career in Addison County as a young substitute teacher 15 years ago. That experience catapulted me into the world of education, where I have been privileged to teach kindergarten and third through sixth grade for the last nine years.
“I am pleased to continue my career where it all began so many years ago. Beyond teaching and educational leadership, I enjoy spending time with my wife and three daughters, playing guitar (poorly), and rooting secretly for the Chicago Bears in Patriots’ country.”
Looking ahead, Park said he hopes to accomplish good things at ACS working with teachers and community members.
“My goal is to continue to unify the school and community while celebrating Addison Central’s legacy; I will work to build the school’s future by highlighting student successes, teachers’ innovation, and community and PTA support,” he said. “In this way, we will showcase ACS’s tradition of fine education while developing areas that will give rise to the success of each individual student.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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