Saturday March 16, 2013

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Prudential Committee recognized two individuals -- a teacher set to retire at the end of the year and a former school board member -- after electing the same officers on the board Thursday.

The Prudential Committee accepted the resignation of Jill Fortney and thanked her for 25 years of teaching at North Bennington Graded School as a sixth-grade teacher and later a reading and math specialist.

"She's been, in part, responsible for the success of our students," Chairman Raymond Mullineaux said.

Mullineaux and others specifically mentioned Fortney's efforts starting and promoting the school's participation in the National Geographic Bee (Geo Bee) and her incorporation of Japanese study in sixth grade.

Fortney said her focus on geography stems from her experience attending the National Geographic Society Summer Geography Institute in Washington D.C. for four weeks in 1993. She has also participated in two educational fellowships to Japan in which she picked up a lot of information that she brought back and incorporated in her instruction.

Fortney said she's enjoyed her time teaching. While she has made a career in education for 35 years, she said teaching has been her passion since she was a little girl and would have other children in the neighborhood act as students in her "class" on the front porch.

Prior to North Bennington, Fortney taught art in Bennington School District 10 years.

The board also took time to thank Seth Gabriel, who served on the board the past two years and did not seek re-election.

"I commend Seth for his adherence to this personal commitment to the children of this district throughout his tenure on this board," Mullineaux said. For his time, the district gave Gabriel a commemorative plate with a painted image of the school and children playing.

As Gabriel left the board, new members Maria Scully and Bruce Lierman were sworn in at the re-organization meeting. The board also re-elected Mullineaux as chairman and Glenn Chaney as vice chairman. Scully was elected board clerk. Elected to represent North Bennington on the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union board was Mullineaux and Matthew Patterson, with Chaney elected as an alternate.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at draspuzzi@benningtonbanner.com or follow on Twitter @DawsonRaspuzzi