GMUSD board picks Beaupre for CTES principal

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Debra Beaupre answers questions from the community at a ‘meet the candidates’ night. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

After a good deal of drama and delay, the Green Mountain Unified School District offered the principal position at Cavendish Town Elementary School to Debra Beaupre on Tuesday evening. The position is permanent rather than interim as originally advertised. As is standard, Beaupre will be offered a one-year contract to start.

Beaupre, who lives in Meriden, N.H., is an assistant principal in the North Country Supervisory Union. Before moving into administration, Beaupre worked for more than two decades in elementary education including four years as a Title I reading teacher. Title I is a program to help disadvantaged students meet academic standards.

At a “meet the candidates night,” Beaupre told community members that her job as principal is to try to make things happen and that her strengths as a leader include doing what she says she will do and pitching in with her staff.

Beaupre, who is gregarious and high energy, used humor to communicate with the public, but her points were often serious. Referring again to leadership, she noted that she has encountered administrators who made her wonder if they had ever been teachers.

In the end she said her philosophy was simple. “Treat people with respect and expect them to behave in a professional manner and they will,” said Beaupre. “This is not a new concept.”

From the beginning, the process of replacing longtime CTES Principal George Thomson has been fraught with troubles. First, Superintendent Meg Powden proposed that the position be filled with a dean of students who would not need certification as a principal. Under that scheme, Chester-Andover Elementary School would also get a dean and current CAES Principal Katherine Fogg would supervise both schools.

But that idea was met with resistance not just from Cavendish, but from Chester as well. Then the position of CTES principal was restored but only as a one-year interim post, ostensibly to allow the district time to assess its goals and decide on a management structure.

On April 17, the interim position was offered to Madeline Carlock who accepted at first, but changed her mind citing lack of public support. After Carlock exited the scene, there were many calls by Cavendish residents to make the job permanent, but the supervisory union resisted until on April 30 — at a meeting where a petition signed by 400 community members requesting the change in status — the GMUSD board voted to re-advertise the job as permanent.

An emotional George Thomson told the board that his last day would be June 29 and after 30 years at the school he would miss it. “I feel good about a lot of things,” said Thomson. “And I’d be happy to come in – on rainy days – during the summer to lend assistance, if I can, with the transition.”

Other hires

The board also approved the hiring of two teachers for Chester-Andover Elementary. Niki Olesky, who has served on the CAES school board and who will receive a master’s degree in July, will join the faculty as a kindergarten teacher and Blakely Gilmore, who recently earned a bachelor’s degree, will begin teaching first grade in the fall.

 

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