I want to thank staff, board members, and community members for welcoming me and my family into the district. I especially want to thank Dr. Greg Scieszka for his help in preparing the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union for a change in leadership.
Much of my work over the past six months has been in learning the specific operational aspects of this supervisory union and its member districts. I have been focused on getting to know people and building positive working relationships with both staff and board members. The outcome of this work will be a conversation on what the role of the supervisory union should be as compared to the districts. We will need to thoughtfully examine all of our programs, particularly special education, early education and business services, to see if greater efficiencies can be achieved through the centralization of services at the supervisory union level.
I believe the issue of centralization is an essential question for us to consider and should prepare us well to navigate regulatory changes coming from the state and federal governments. These changes include modifications to Vermont’s educational finance system and governance reform. If we can improve our programs by working together within our supervisory union, we will be better able to maintain local control in the face of increasing regulation from other levels of government. We will also be able to articulate a successful vision of public education that can serve as a model for the rest of the state, a model that includes an effective partnership between public and private resources and expanded learning opportunities for students.
Responding to change will require us to work together and plan for the future. An important trend for us to consider will be the impact of technology on learning. Information technologies have transformed many aspects of our society but their impact on our K-12 educational systems has not been as significant. When you consider these developments within the larger demographic pattern of declining enrollment, it becomes clear that technology will bring a renewed emphasis on the individualization of instruction and enhanced communication capabilities with parents and the community. These changes are consistent with the historic mission of public education, and I believe we should embrace them in order to realize their full potential. To that end, we have established a new website at www.brsu.org which includes a variety of data on our districts as well as links to the blogs of our educational leaders. We have also begun a significant technology planning process in order to understand how we will need to structure learning for students in the future.
The capacity of our districts to meet the challenges of the future is significant. We have very talented instructors, strong leadership at the school level, dedicated board members, and supportive communities. This organizational capacity needs to be leveraged in order to ensure that every one of our students is given the opportunity to receive the highest quality education and to realize his or her fullest potential in a future that is more global and more connected than previously experienced by any generation. I look forward to this work, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to serve our districts in my capacity as superintendent.