After resignations, two former GMUSD members hope to return to posts

From left, Kate Lamphere of Cavendish, Dennis Reilly of Cavendish and Katie Murphy of Chester resigned from the Green Mountain Unified School District Board over the mascot vote.

By Cynthia Prairie
©2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Since Thursday night’s turmoil at the Green Mountain Unified School District board meeting — in which three board members and the supervisory union superintendent announced their resignations following a vote to uphold the school’s name ‘the Chieftains’  — two board members are seeking to get reinstated while another is preparing his formal letter of resignation. See Friday’s article: GM votes to keep Chieftain …

To return to service, the former members would have to be recommended by their select boards and approved by the school board.

In the meantime, the state Agency of Education has received several inquiries about how to file or register an appeal of the vote with the state.

Dennis Reilly, who represents Cavendish, told The Telegraph on Monday that he was writing up his formal resignation letter.  On Tuesday afternoon, he added that he would reconsider resigning if board Chair Deb Brown would call for a re-vote so that board member Katie Murphy of Chester could issue the vote she was intending to. But he added that he believed it was unlikely that Brown would call for a re-vote since his TRSU email had been shut down Tuesday morning. 

He said that although he is no longer on the board, he still intends to participate in a group of concerned residents, parents and teachers about the future of Cavendish Town Elementary School, which has been losing students. Reilly sat on the school board’s newly formed restructuring committee that was to address that issue among others.

“I’m hoping we get this really wide band of ideas that we can pursue with the school boards,” he said.

Katie Murphy of Chester, who resigned Thursday night after intending to vote that the GM school team name did indeed violate state law but got confused and did the opposite, said on Monday, “I intend to pursue getting back on the board.” She said that she had attempted to rescind the resignation by contacting board Chair  Brown, but Brown indicated that she had already received and accepted the resignation and that Murphy “should look into what the process would be to be reappointed to the board.”

Kate Lamphere, a Cavendish board member who also resigned Thursday night, clarified that she too was on Zoom Thursday night and that she too found “the motion to be very confusing and did ask for it to be clarified several times before I voted.”   But, she added, “it sounds like Katie (Murphy) missed that part.” Once the vote had been taken, however, Reilly left and Lamphere turned off her camera, making it appear that she too had left. However, she had not. The confusion just continued as Murphy contended she voted wrong and Brown said that “nothing could be done concerning Katie’s vote.” “In hindsight, I wish I had turned my camera on and said something.”

But now, Lamphere says, “I don’t know what the next right step is. If the board is going to correct the record and let Katie Murphy vote the way she intended to vote, I would be happy to be back on the board. I very much want to be on the board. That is why I ran,” she said, adding that, “I have reached out to the chairman (Deb Brown) on Friday but I have not gotten a response from her yet.”

As for the supporters of the keeping the name, Lamphere said she hasn’t heard from them. “I haven’t talked to a single constituent who was for keeping the name. Some were even indifferent, but wanted to just move on from the issue.”

Ted Fisher of the Agency of Education said his office has “received several inquiries from members of the public asking about how to register an appeal … As of earlier this afternoon however we have not received any appeals themselves.”

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. Raymond Makul says:

    They resigned, went home, tuned in the Boston Celtics playoff game, and never noticed the stereotype Irishman at center court.

    So they resigned and left the room in a huff. That reminds me of the kid who got mad at the softball game, and took home the bat and ball.

  2. D. Douglas says:

    I would ask that the select board and the school board not reinstate these people. as stated by the two earlier comments I think it teaches our youth that it is ok to have a temper tantrum and quit something and then you can change your mind and all is well. If they had acted like adults, they most likely could have had a revote and got there way. I also feel that the superintendent should be held to her decision to resign. She stated that she always backs the board decisions. Apparently, that only applies if she agrees with that decision.

  3. Geraldine Williams says:

    I would have to agree with the previous response. I,as a taxpayer and resident of Andover am tired of the threats of resignations from our TRSU Superintendent and board members. This was the same scenario that was presented when we were discussing the Principal of GMUHS position, two years ago. If people who decide to serve our communities think that leaving a meeting in a snit is setting a good example for anyone. They are wrong.
    I am very impressed with Deb Brown and the other board members for being the adults in the room. I have watched the meeting on Okemo T.V. Everyone interprets and understands differently. I understood the conversation and the vote.

  4. Lisa Douglas says:

    I certainly hope that any board members that resigned because the vote in question didn’t go the way they thought it should are not reinstated. Voting is the way we keep democracy alive. You take the majority ruling and live with the results, you work to change the opinion of the people. You don’t resign in a snit and then realize you might have had the majority after all and want a do-over.