Cavendish residents seek permanent principal Petition open to Chester, Andover, Baltimore residents

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Cavendish resident Sara Stowell repeatedly asked for a permanent principal school board and committee meetings. Telegraph photo.

A group of Cavendish residents are gathering signatures from Cavendish, Chester, Andover and Baltimore residents asking that Two Rivers Supervisory Union make the position of principal of Cavendish Town Elementary School permanent instead of interim. The online petition can be found here.

On Monday, the group sent a letter to Superintendent Meg Powden saying that it had gathered more than 200 signatures thus far and urged the supervisory union to “call an emergency GMUSD board meeting this week to approve of this change.”

The retirement of longtime Cavendish Town Elementary School Principal George Thomson was bound to be an emotional wrench for residents of Cavendish. But just before Christmas last year  – as part of the Green Mountain Unified School District’s first budgeting process – they learned that he would be replaced by a “dean of students” who would be supervised by Chester-Andover Elementary Principal Katherine Fogg.

Cavendish parent Chris Marks asks to reopen the search for a permanent principal before the GMUSD board voted on the one remaining candidate. ‘It would be a shame to settle,’ said Marks.

In January, the position of principal was restored, but a week later Superintendent Meg Powden announced that it would be an interim hire until TRSU could  “sort out what’s best for the district.”

Since then, residents of Cavendish – and others – have been requesting at school board meetings, that the position be restored to permanent status to no avail.

Last Tuesday, the GMUSD board voted to hire an interim principal candidate. By Wednesday though she had bowed out citing a lack of community support.  That evening, The Telegraph asked Powden what the next steps would be and she said, “That’s really for the board to determine at this point and I’m not willing to comment on that.”

Since then, Cavendish residents have organized a petition calling on Powden to change the post from interim to permanent and today — Monday — they sent her the email below. According to petition organizer Sara Stowell, the email to Powden has been forwarded to Marilyn Mahusky, chair of the Green Mountain Unified District board that oversees the hiring.

Meg Powden,

In response to the lack of effective candidates brought to the Cavendish community in the search of the interim CTES principal, along with the outcome of the only remaining candidate not accepting the offer, we are asking you as the Superintendent to immediately reinstate the CTES principal position as Permanent and Full-Time.

We released a petition online as well as within local business and town offices in Cavendish, Chester, Baltimore, and Andover which asks people to sign if they align to this statement:

As a resident in a community that is part of the Green Mountain Unified School District, I am signing this petition to ask the Board to immediately and publicly reinstate the position of Principal at Cavendish Town Elementary School to a permanent, full-timeposition, and to re-open the search for candidates for this position.

After only a few days, we have over 200 signatures and counting.  With each passing day, the groundswell of those adding their names to the petition grows.  Reinstating a permanent principal position is clearly the will of the voters.

The role of principal is critical to promoting a sense of community; consistency for parents, students and teachers; excellence in education; and minimizing the negative effects of the changes our district has seen with the Act46 consolidation. 

You have the chance to gain the support of the community by doing what we know is right for our school and our town.  Therefore, we request that you immediately change the job posting to full-time and permanent, dropping “interim”. 

If this is a GMUSD decision, we ask that you call an emergency GMUSD board meeting this week to approve of this change. 


Denise Reilly-Hughes
Margo Caulfield
Carolyn Solzhenitsyn
Sara Stowell
Sara Cook
Abraham Gross
Amanda Gross
Kevin Hughes
Julia Gignoux
Ignat Solzhenitsyn
Robert Naess


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  1. R Emery says:

    I too would love to see a full time principal at the school. However, I cannot support this petition with my signature, as it states that there was a lack of effective candidates.

    I was able to speak at some length with both finalists for the position when they spent an entire day at our school.

    I not only heartily disagree that either of the two final candidates should be labeled ineffective, I believe that both could have done a fine job as the principal of CTES for a year and perhaps even as long as they would stay.

  2. I would love to see a full time principal. You can’t run a school on part-time. Little town growing fast, maybe 10 years ago, yes, but times have changed. Full-time