Edie Dunn named new Benn El principal

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BENNINGTON — The Bennington School District Board has named Edie Dunn as the next principal of Bennington Elementary School.

The first search to replace retiring Bennington Elementary Principal James Law did not yield any candidates, but the second search came to an end on Thursday, when Southwest Vermont Superintendent Jim Culkeen introduced Dunn to the board. "We're very pleased that somebody with her level of experience as a principal is coming to Bennington," said Culkeen.

"One of the biggest requirements we were looking for was somebody with proven principal experience," said Culkeen, explaining why the search had taken two tries, "and we believe we have a candidate tonight who certainly meets that."

"I was a military dependent, I grew up doing lots of moving and traveling," said Dunn, "and I'm really appreciative to my dad for that, because from that life work of traveling and having to adjust to lots of different places and things, I became very resilient. I also learned that there's so much out there to do, to experience, and to know. If you look at my resume you can see that movement was always moving forward, that I leave a place in a good place to move forward. I think, coming from Hardwick Elementary was really a great training ground for Bennington, even though it's a smaller school in many ways and is rural. We also had high poverty, high challenges with special education, challenges with students with behavior needs, challenges with students from trauma. In working through those these past couple of years, it has been an incredible, exciting adventure."

Dunn said she was proud of where she had left Hardwick, which is part of the Orleans South Supervisory Union, after six years, especially in terms of programs and professional development that had started under her leadership, and she said that leaving had been bittersweet. However, she said, "I think Bennington offers, really, some great challenges. I will tell you honestly, if I were to receive this position, it would be the most difficult and challenging work, probably, that I've ever done. But I think, in looking at what you have and the principal who has been here for a great time and really dedicated himself to this school, it looks like there's a lot of work to do to kind of resurrect some energy and some staff efficacy."

Dunn also served as principal of Frenchtown Elementary School in the East Greenwich Public School system in Rhode Island.

New board member Meridy Capella, spoke highly of the candidate and thanked her for considering coming to Bennington. "I was reviewing your resume, and you are incredibly qualified for the position," she said to Dunn. She noted that Hardwick utilized a CI3T (Comprehensive, Integrated Three-Tiered Model of Prevention) similar to the one that was recently rolled out in the SVSU.

Capella made the motion to approve Dunn's nomination, and the board approved it unanimously. "There's a lot of hard work ahead," said Dunn, "and I hope I fulfill your expectations."

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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