Rivendell Interstate school district click for home

mission statement click for home

Monday, October 21, 2019


Rivendell Appoints New Principals

May 30, 2019
Dear Rivendell Community,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Steven Lindemann as principal of Samuel Morey Elementary School and Timm Judas as principal of Westshire Elementary School effective July 1, 2019. Many thanks to all who helped with the search process.

The board decided at its April 4th meeting to return to the model of one principal dedicated to each school. The 13-person search committee was charged with finding two leaders to work as peers in making our schools the best they can be. The committee met with teachers, parents, and community members to identify what to look for in a candidate. Communication and interpersonal skills ranked high on the list, along with a demonstrated capacity to solve problems and build trust. School climate, behavior, and instructional leadership were also common themes. The committee looked through applications, conducted initial interviews, and set up a schedule for each of the finalists to spend a full day at the schools. This process played out over several weeks with the first two candidates visiting May 6th and the final two May 22nd. (If it feels like you’ve been waiting for a long time for an official announcement, you are right!) Reference checking started as soon as each finalist was identified. After each round of visits, the committee met to review feedback from teachers, staff, parents, community members and share what was learned from reference-checking. While some conversations took longer than others, the committee made the unanimous decision to recommend these two candidates to the school board.

Steve Lindemann started his education career teaching English to prospective baseball players, first in the Dominican Republic and then in the US working for the LA Dodgers. Shifting to elementary school education, he taught Kindergarten, 1st grade and 4th grade in Potsdam NY, before moving to VT and teaching 5th/6th grade math and science for 17 years. He became the assistant principal at Mary Hogan Elementary School in Middlebury in 2013 and served as interim principal this past year. He holds masters degrees in international management, elementary education, and educational leadership.

Timm Judas was the art teacher at Newbury Elementary School for eight years before teaching art and music at Oxbow for fifteen years. Throughout that time he worked to integrate arts across the curriculum and connect with rural community histories. He was involved in numerous school and community projects including a preschool, after-school programs, and theater and music productions. While teaching at Oxbow, he completed a masters degree and advanced graduate work in art education at Plymouth State. Since 2012 he has been teaching art education at Plymouth State and currently serves as the coordinator of graduate and undergraduate art education programs.

While changes in leadership can be challenging, we see this as an exciting opportunity to assemble a team of exceptional leaders to move the district forward. We look forward to working with this team.

The Rivendell School Board

Superintendent Chosen!


Contact: Marc DeBois

Phone: (603) 493-0508

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">


                                      RIVENDELL PICKS NEW LEADER

Barrett Williams, longtime Sharon Elementary School principal, tapped as

Rivendell Interstate School District Superintendent


Orford, NH (April 16, 2019) The Rivendell Interstate School District Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Barrett Williams as superintendent of schools effective July 1, 2019.

A Vermont native, Mr. Williams attended Bradford public schools. He received his education degree at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, and his Master of Education at UVM. After teaching and serving as a an administrator in Tunbridge and Chelsea, he became principal of Sharon Elementary School where he has served for the past 11 years. At Sharon, Mr. Williams prized his connection with students, but he became known as a relentless promoter and developer of new programs and initiatives, including pre-school, farm to school, outdoor programs and more. These new ideas attracted enrollment. Total enrollment at Sharon increased from 84 students to 163 today, and Sharon is now at full capacity, one of the very few schools in the Upper Valley in that position.

The Search Committee, chaired by RISD vice chair Kathy Hooke of Vershire, was impressed by how well Mr. Williams matched their ambitious goals. “Teachers and community members told us that they loved Rivendell’s family-like atmosphere, innovative teaching and commitment to opportunities for students. They wanted us to find a skilled communicator, a proven innovator with the ability to see the connections that could lead to new programs and opportunities, and above all a leader with expertise and enthusiasm to take what we love about Rivendell and help us grow. Barrett checked all those boxes with professionalism and the disarming Vermont humor that we love.”

Mr. Williams lives in Thetford with his wife and son. He is a youth sports enthusiast, outdoorsman, and storyteller.  

Rivendell’s status as an Interstate district creates a host of opportunities, but also presents complicated requirements for management and reporting. In recognition of this challenge, RISD has retained the services of retired Lebanon superintendent Dr. Mike Harris to mentor Mr. Williams in his first year on the job. Dr. Harris served most recently as Lyme’s superintendent and was RISD’s interim superintendent 2016 to 2017. Board chair, Marc DeBois, states “We recognize that this is a challenging job. Dr. Harris’s long service to school districts in New Hampshire and to Rivendell will help make for a smooth and effective transition.”

The Rivendell Interstate School District was founded in 1998 to serve the children of Orford, New Hampshire and the Vermont towns of Fairlee, West Fairlee and Vershire. Rivendell has become known for its innovative approach to education that places the student at the center of deep authentic learning. The district is proud of its commitment to rigorous education for all students regardless of background or socio-economic status. It offers full-day preschool, afterschool and summer programming, and numerous opportunities for older students to deepen their learning through independent projects, internships and travel abroad. Rivendell’s three schools, Samuel Morey Elementary, Westshire Elementary and Rivendell Academy consistently rank among the best in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Superintendent Search Update


March 2019
Dear Rivendell Community,
The Rivendell Interstate School District is actively engaged in the process of searching for a new Superintendent of Schools. The search committee is composed of Brenda Gray, Keri Gelenian, Kirsten Surprenant, Rachael Weber, Makalia Oakes, Jess Cheney, Rebecca Wurdak, Kathy Hooke and David Ricker. Over the past several weeks the committee has met several times to look though resumes, review the job description, and identify what we are looking for in a candidate. We also held focus groups with teachers and community members. Some common themes emerged: we are looking for an excellent communicator who will be able to build relationships within the schools and larger community; a leader with expertise, enthusiasm and humor, capable of handling many responsibilities and making hard decisions; someone who will take what we love about Rivendell (small caring community, innovative teaching, commitment to special opportunities for our students) and help us grow. Based on these criteria, we narrowed the field down to three candidates for a first round of interviews. Of these, we identified one who we would like to advance to the next level. Since new applications continue to come in, we will keep the search open until the hiring process is completed. At this time, we are excited to invite you to meet our candidate under active consideration. We strongly encourage you to attend and participate in a community conversation with the candidate and submit feedback for the committee to consider. Included is a draft of the job description as you consider the role of the Superintendent in our district.

superintendent meeting dates

We hope to see you and welcome your participation and feedback.

Communication from RISD Board

Communication from RISD Board 01 14 19

Communication from RISD Board January 14, 2019

Student Enrollment

student enrollment

Click here to download the Student Enrollment Data Sheet.

Enrollment fluctuates throughout the year.

student enrollment08242016

student enrollement

Click here to download the Student Enrollment Data Sheet.

Enrollment fluctuates throughout the year.

Letter from the School Board and Superintendent

To the Rivendell Community:

Please read the letter with important information from the School Board and Superintendent.

Click here to download the letter.

Superintendent Search

The Superintendent Search Committee has narrowed the field down to four candidates: Elaine Arbour, Carl Chambers, Nan Parsons, and Kate Segal. The four candidates will be touring the Rivendell District on February 9th and 10th, concluding with a second interview with the Search Committee. The Search Committee will then be selecting two finalists to present to the School Board. There will be a public forum scheduled when the two finalists are selected.


Michael Harris - Superintendent 
Keri Gelenian - Head of Schools/RA Principal 
Jan Cole - Director of SPED 
Tammy MacQueen - WES Principal 
Michael Foxall - SME Principal 
Kathy Blanchard - Board Member 
Jean MacDonald - Board Member 
Sarah Molesworth - Community Member
Craig Tomlinson - Community Member 
Thessalie Butler - Student 
Teddy Wilkin - Student 
Carmen Winchester - REA Representative 
Kirsten Surprenant - REA Representative 

Superintendent (.6 FTE)

Rivendell Interstate School District is seeking a strong, experienced administrator with comprehensive knowledge and experience with education law, school finance, community relations, successful decision-making skills, policy compliance, grant management and proven managerial excellence. The successful candidate must be licensed or eligible for dual licensure as a Superintendent in Vermont and New Hampshire.

The Superintendent will supervise the Head of Schools/RA Principal, Samuel Morey Elementary School Principal, Westshire Elementary School Principal, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Operations, Director of Information Technology, Director of Special Education, Food Service Director, as well as other District Office staff. The Superintendent serves one school board of 11 members comprised of representatives from four member towns.

Position is part-time (.6 FTE) and the scheduling of days and hours is negotiable with the successful candidate.

Rivendell Interstate School District
Attn: Human Resources
10 School Drive, Orford, NH 03777

Student Enrollment September 30, 2016

student enrollment09302016

2016 Back to School Letter

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.

Michael Harris