Message from Superintendent:
August 3, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As the calendar turns to August, I write my first welcome letter as Rivendell’s Superintendent to parents and students for the upcoming start to the 2016-17 school year. Our teachers and staff members will return to work in a mere three weeks on August 22 and students will begin classes on Wednesday, August 24. As much as I enjoy athletics, it surprises me to think that our fall athletes will return as soon
as August 18.
I was hired as the superintendent here in January and I am pleased that the School Board has asked me to continue for the next year. I have very much enjoyed the work and the people here, and I respect the District’s progressive mission and vision of education. Rivendell’s success with a diverse population of students is admirable and there is exciting work going on at all of our schools. As one example, I will cite the work at Rivendell Academy regarding projects and exhibitions under the direction of Principal Keri Gelenian. This is work that all schools now aspire to develop but that only a few schools have actually dared to undertake.
The summer has gone well in the schools with numerous maintenance projects, a successful SummerScapes program under the direction of Tammy MacQueen, and some occasional staff hiring. I am thankful that our teaching staffs are remaining relatively stable, but there has been one truly significant change. Gail Keiling has retired from her position as the principal at Samuel Morey Elementary School after 17 years in Rivendell. Replacing her is Michael Foxall, a veteran administrator with many years of experience at international schools. Mr. Foxall also worked with me previously in Lebanon where he was the principal at the Mt. Lebanon Elementary School for seven years. He is a man who loves talking about children and education and has wonderful stories of his assignments abroad.
The School Board and I have discussed several important objectives for my work as superintendent this year. Included in them is the development of the teacher evaluation system, the assessment of job descriptions amongst the administration, and judgments about the District budget. Another important task is facing the challenge of compliance with federal and state initiatives and plans. A year ago, Vermont’s Act 46 loomed ahead with its regulations about governance and budget, but Rivendell ultimately was declared exempt from most of its provisions because of our interstate status. However, Rivendell will have to remain knowledgeable about and compliant with the new federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” and with Vermont’s own responses for testing, standards and curriculum.
The mission statement for the Rivendell Interstate School District states that one of its foundational design principles is the set of “significant and ongoing connections between school and community.” I hope that you value your family’s connections with your children’s schools and that you are confident and comfortable in your ability to communicate with teachers and with school and district administrators. I wish you and your children a productive and enjoyable year ahead, and I hope that you all can enjoy the rest of the summer in the meantime.