To the editor: A different point of view on Meg Powden

As a long time school board member in Chester, recent chair of both the Green Mountain Unified School District Board and the Two Rivers Supervisory Union Board, member of the Act 46 Study Committee, and chair of the Board Bargaining Council for several years, I have had the opportunity to observe Superintendent Meg Alison Powden up close.

Among Ms. Powden’s many strengths is her demonstrated ability to build and inspire a leadership team within our six schools with the stated goal of improving educational outcomes for all students.

She has set high standards for herself, our teachers and staff. She cares deeply about the children in our communities, and works tirelessly to achieve equity among our students, many of whom experience poverty, trauma and disadvantage and to improve our schools.

Superintendent Powden has faced many challenges. In her first two years as superintendent, while attending to 11 school districts, she oversaw the final chapter of Act 46, a process that divided our communities, and resulted in the closure of Black River High School, a cherished institution in the town of Ludlow. During this period, she led with grace under tremendous pressure from our communities.

Since then, among other things, Ms. Powden has sought to implement Act 77 and the Education Quality Standards, necessitating a shift to proficiency-based graduation requirements and personalized learning plans and requiring a change in the way teachers teach and students learn. Some have resisted.

In recent remarks to educators, Ms. Powden stated she wanted to “move our schools … from ‘good enough to great.’” She emphasized commitment to educating all students, teaching them to “collaborate, think critically, acquire and apply knowledge and creatively solve problems.” She challenged everyone present to get on-board, to not interfere and to rededicate themselves to the mission adopted by the TRSU Board in 2013. I read her remarks and applaud her efforts, her leadership and her commitment to all of our children.

Our schools are well served by Superintendent Powden.

Marilyn Mahusky
GMUSD board member

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  1. Randy Miles says:

    When you have a leader they are there to work and listen to all sides with out the feeling of punishment if you should not agree with your leader. (I think there is something in our Constitution about freedom of speech. Or at least there use to be.) This has not been the case with our superintendent. She agrees with everything the state dishes out even if it does not fit our kids or schools needs and interests. Our schools have lost their voice with parents, teachers and now a divide of the boards. This is a good thing for our schools or we should be thanking our superintend for this? What?
    My wife and I as parents did not want our kids to take the s-bac tests. State rule they do not have to and we made our choice very clear to the school. It would take too long to tell you the terrible things that were done to go against our decision not to have our kids take the s-bac. Not right at all.

    Also this new proficiency grading. I do not see the plus in this at all it has been over a year now and I still do not see or have talked to anyone who feel this is better. Yet it is being crammed down on us like it or not because this is what the state wants and Meg’s voice is with the state and not parents, teachers and even the kids who think this is not the best for us. Time to say good by to our superintendent and time to move forward with what is best for our schools and towns. Our superintendent has made too many bad choices and there is a difference between working with people and demanding or else.

  2. Otis Nelson says:

    Another side of Meg Powden, the fact that she loves to spend, spend, spend on things that do not directly benefit our kids! She continues to think she is above the boards and their oversight duties! (Release the speech given to teachers!) She continues to keep important facts from the boards! She gives very vague sometimes misleading budgets! She continues to intimidate (bully) the school employees! She has tried to incorporate a raise in her budgets without consultation with board!

    She is in fact, leading this Union into a continued mistrust from our communities, our boards and our teachers! The lack of transparency is evident, the public sees it very clearly! I would suggest to all the boards that serve this Union, skip your own opinion of this superintendent, get out and see what the public thinks, they are the ones you’re are speaking for and representing with your votes to keep supporting this superintendent!
    In my opinion, when she did not disclose the fact of the all the lawsuits to our union boards, she should have been let go immediately and should have never gotten the raise and two year contract!

    Otis Nelson