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Petition seeks firing of ANeSU superintendent

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Posted on February 26, 2015 |
By Zach Despart



BRISTOL — A group of community members is circulating a petition calling for the removal of Addison Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent David Adams.

Koran Cousino, who said she was one of several community members who drafted the petition, said the group will deliver it to the ANeSU executive board at a later date.

As of Wednesday morning, 138 had signed the petition online on www.change.org, though Cousino said that scores more people have signed paper versions posted at several locations in the five-town area.

The supervisory union hired Adams in 2012. His current contract expires in June 2016.

Adams declined to comment on the petition.

On the webpage, more than 30 people had expressed disapproval of Adams and support for his removal.

Residents raised concern about Adams’ leadership skills, his interactions with staff and parents and his financial vision for the supervisory union and its six schools.

Donna Wood, who retired as a classroom teacher at Lincoln Community School last year, said she believes the ANeSU board hired Adams to bring down costs in the supervisory union, but he has not been transparent with teachers or the community.

“I found that our superintendent responded to questions with evasion,” Wood wrote.

Lisa Grover of Bristol said she was disappointed in her interactions with Adams after a teaching vacancy was left unfilled at Bristol Elementary School.

“We exchanged 2 emails, where I was given flip answers and brushed off,” Grover wrote. “When I pushed for more information I was ignored.”

Judith Bryant of Starksboro said she was disappointed with the supervisory union since her daughter began attending school a year ago.

“Lately, I see education and opportunities degraded due to decisions coming from the superintendent,” she wrote.

In at least once instance, a school board member has expressed concern about supervisory union leadership. Jen Oldham resigned from the Lincoln school board last August because she thought the working relationship between the board and administration was untenable.

“I have witnessed a lack of tolerance for criticism or dissent and an unwillingness to explore opinions and perspectives that come from within the ‘whole’ but do not align with the thinking of the Superintendent and/or the current majority,” Oldham wrote in her resignation letter.

Oldham told the Independent Wednesday that she supports the petition to remove Adams.

Cousino has lived in Starksboro her whole life, is the parent of three ANeSU students and is also a coach at Mount Abraham. She said that she does not feel Adams is an effective leader.

“Whether he’s taking us in the right or wrong direction is debatable,” she said. “But his inability to inspire the people that work for him, to inspire the community to follow along, is the most striking thing.”

She added that she does not think Adams’ leadership creates the best educational environment for her three children.

“My kids get one shot at their education,” Cousino said. “That’s what’s most important to me.”

Cousino said the breadth of comments on the petition webpage show that many residents are dissatisfied with Adams and the supervisory union administration. She said the group will present the petition to the ANeSU board some time after Town Meeting Day.

ANeSU board chair Bonita Bedard said Monday that she had not seen the petition, but believes Adams’ job performance has been satisfactory. Bedard added that the board would evaluate and consider the petition if and when it is delivered.

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