MUMS alum to take helm of her old school

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Union Middle School will soon be led by one of its own graduates.
The UD-3 school board on Tuesday unanimously endorsed the hiring of Leicester resident and current Rutland Middle School Principal Kristin Holsman-Francoeur as the new top administrator for MUMS.
Holsman-Francoeur, 46, will succeed current MUMS Principal Patrick Reen, who will leave next month to become superintendent of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union. Holsman-Francoeur, an MUHS (1987) and Middlebury College grad (1991), will begin her duties at MUMS on July 1.
While content in her job at Rutland Middlebury School, Holsman-Francoeur had been looking for a chance to work in the county she has called home since 1976.
“Professionally, I love what I have done in Rutland, but it’s always been a long-term goal to return to my home community,” Holsman-Francoeur said. “I went to junior high here, high school here and college here. So it really is a return home.”
She noted, however, that she was drawn to MUMS for a lot more than its location. Holsman-Francoeur had spent time reading the Addison Central Supervisory Union strategic plan and it’s current effort to offer an International Baccalaureate program. Holsman-Francoeur has also being impressed with the district’s emphasis on world languages and making community connections.
“I loved seeing that and wanted to be part of it,” she said of the district’s educational priorities.
MUMS serves students in the Addison Central Supervisory Union member towns of Weybridge, Shoreham, Salisbury, Ripton, Middlebury, Cornwall and Bridport.
Holsman-Francoeur said she’s confortable with the ACSU’s impending transition, through Act 46, to unified governance under a single, 13-member school board and single education budget for all of the member schools. Rutland City Public Schools are already operating in this manner, she noted.
Asked to describe her leadership style, she replied:
“I believe in my faculty and staff, that they are committed and passionate about students. I want to be a leader that brings out the best in them and allows them to excel. I believe in listening and hearing other points of view, and not automatically assuming that I am right. Beyond everything, I love middle schoolers. That is my favorite age range.”
ACSU officials are happy to have Holsman-Francoeur on board.
“We are very pleased to find a candidate with Kristin’s depth of experience, strong local ties, and great passion for the middle school experience,” said UD-3 board Chairman Peter Conlon.
“Kristin went through a pretty rigorous vetting process that included a visit to her school and an exhausting day at MUMS visiting with everyone, and all who met her were invited to fill out an evaluation. People were very impressed with her.”
Addison Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Peter Burrows said, “The MUMS community is extremely excited to welcome Kristin Holsman-Francoeur. Kristin brings deep community roots, inclusive and visionary leadership, and a passion for middle school that will make her an ideal principal at MUMS. We all look forward to continuing the great work at MUMS with Kristin.”
Patrick Reen formally announced his departure for the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union this past March — a month that ACSU officials conceded is usually not ideal to launch a search for a new school administrator to start by July 1. The district had the option of naming an interim principal to serve out the 2017-2018 academic year. But the MUMS job posting produced some quality applicants. Holsman-Francoeur emerged as the lone finalist. She visited MUMS last Thursday, May 12.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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