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Meet the two finalists for Bristol Elementary School principal

TOM BUZZELL, LEFT, and Kathleen Kilbourne are finalists to become the next principal of Bristol Elementary School.

UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, the BES Principal Finalists meet and greet with the community scheduled for today, Thursday, Feb. 6, will be rescheduled. More information as it becomes available.  Click here to see the new day and time.
BRISTOL — Two candidates with strong ties to Bristol Elementary School and more than a decade each of experience as a principal are the finalists to be the school’s next principal.
One is the current BES interim principal, Tom Buzzell, and the other is now the principal of Addison Central School, Kathleen Kilbourne.
Mount Abraham Unified School District Superintendent Patrick Reen said one of the finalists could be offered the position as early as Friday or the beginning of next week.
Buzzell and Kilbourne will each spend time this Thursday, Feb. 6, meeting with students, faculty and staff. Then, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. that evening both will be available to meet families and community members at the school.
Both also offered brief introductory letters and biographies in advance of Thursday.
Kilbourne said she has a master’s degree in Educational Administration and more than 25 years of experience in education, including 13 years (1995-2003) as a teacher and special educator at BES.
Kilbourne has also served as director of the nonprofit Parent Information Resource Center of Vermont before working as a principal for the past 11 years, most recently at Addison’s elementary school. Kilbourne holds three Vermont Agency of Education licenses, as a K-12 special educator and K-6 elementary teacher, and in K-12 Educational Administration.
Before being named interim principal, Buzzell served as the BES librarian for the 2018-2019 school year. Buzzell has 14 years of combined experience in school leadership as Assistant Principal, Co-Principal and Principal, 10 years as a secondary science teacher, six years as an elementary school librarian, and two years as a high school Librarian.
Buzzell has also taught part-time at an alternative high school and summer school. His Vermont Educators License includes endorsements for principal for grades pre-K to 12 and library media specialist for grades pre-K to 12. After earning a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, Buzzell also obtained a secondary-science teaching certificate, a master’s in school library media, and a certificate of advanced graduate study in Educational Leadership from the University of Vermont.
Kilbourne wrote she attended the former Mountain Street School before graduating from Mount Abraham Union High School in 1990.
She added her personal circumstances have helped in her career:
“In addition to my formal education and ongoing professional development, my role as a mother has also taught me about child development, accessing systems, advocating, clear communication, and collaborating. I have one biological daughter who is a VUHS grad, one adopted son with differing abilities who I parent cross culturally and have been a foster parent in the past. The highly personal experience of sitting at the table as a consumer, and not just as the provider, has been humbling.”
Kilbourne said she believed in community involvement.
“It is essential that parents, students, staff, and community all work together to support our youngest students on their educational journey,” she wrote. 
Buzzell added fewer comments to his credentials.
“I reside in Hinesburg with my wife and we have four children,” he wrote. “When not at work I may be found kayaking the rivers and lakes in the Champlain Valley or hiking one of the area’s lower summits.”

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