AMHS Principal Stewart to resign, return to classroom teaching
Stewart was named interim principal in July 2015, after then-principal Christopher Barnes accepted a position as assistant principal at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington. Stewart was then formally hired as principal in January 2016.
"I have enjoyed serving in as an administrator of Arlington Memorial High School," wrote Stewart in a letter of resignation addressed to the School Board. "Seven years ago, AMHS Principal Kerry Csizmesia asked me to step aside from full-time teaching and help them as athletic director, which I accepted without question. Three years ago I was named principal of AMHS and I have been honored to serve this school and community. At the end of this school year, I will make plans to return to the classroom once again as a full-time member of the AMHS faculty."
"My primary concern has been, and will continue to be, what is best for our students," he continued. "I have spent hours counseling students through my work as a teacher, principal, and coach, and I know this time was necessary and important. I am not alone in this commitment. We have a dedicated and caring group of faculty and staff who arrive each day concerned about how they can best meet the needs of AMHS students. As a teacher I appreciated them as colleagues, as a principal I was impressed by their quality of teaching and their contributions outside of the classroom. The role of a principal is vast and varied, and after 31 years in this district I never truly understood all that this role required until I stepped into those shoes. I appreciate the support that my mentor principal and members of the school board have given me."
"From now until graduation I will work with the board and AMHS faculty and staff to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students," he said. "I am happy to begin this next phase of my educational journey."
Prior to being named principal, Stewart had served the district as a teacher, teaching industrial arts and technology, a coach, and athletic director, a position he'd held since 2011.
"This community is extremely fortunate to have you as a dedicated, passionate advocate for our schools," said Arlington Board Chairwoman Nicol Whalen during last Wednesday's board meeting, at which Stewart made the announcement. "I know this has been a long-thought out process for you. Thank you for everything you've contributed to the school, and for everything you'll continue to contribute to the school." The board voted to accept Stewart's resignation with thanks and regrets.
"He has done a fine job of tackling important school issues," said then-Superintendent Judith Pullinen. "He is student-oriented, and has respect for both students and staff. Tim knows the community, and is a visible principal, who has been building relationships with students, families, and the larger community." She said that the position was only posted internally, which the district's policy allows when the superintendent believes a qualified internal candidate exists.
"It's important for the coming school year not to be a lost year," she said when Stewart was hired as interim principal, "and an internal candidate knows the people, knows the community, knows the teachers, knows the students, whereas somebody coming in, especially this late in the game, it's going to take them a while just to get up to speed. To me, (if we go with an external candidate) we've wasted an opportunity to test an internal candidate that might be able to fit into the position. If that internal candidate does not work out, we move on, but we've had a year to test."
The board also unanimously agreed on Wednesday to renew the contract of Fisher Elementary School Principal Deanne Lacoste, who has served in that role since 2007.
Derek Carson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.
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