The Addison County School District (ACSD) is currently in the final stages of hiring a new superintendent, filling a vacancy left by former ACSD Superintendent Peter Burrows.
The district serves students grades K-12 from the towns of Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge.
In an email to The Campus, chair of the ACSD School Board Barb Wilson wrote that Burrows first notified the district of his leave in December of 2022, explaining that he was seeking “superintendencies in urban settings, outside of Vermont.”
Burrows served the ACSD for 10 years and officially resigned on January 30 of this year.
In her email, Wilson explained the various methods that the ACSD Board has been using to reach candidates for the superintendency
“The ACSD Board advertised the position on a national scale, in addition to advertising in Vermont,” Wilson said.
Wilson noted that one important tool to the ACSD search is the executive recruitment website McPherson & Jacobson LLC, which averages over 225,000 hits per month.
In the recruitment brochure that the district put out on the website, the qualifications require that the candidate have “the background, skills and abilities essential for excellence in educational leadership.”
The brochure also emphasizes the importance of a commitment to equity and the uplifting of student diversity, especially in rural communities and across varied socioeconomic conditions.
Among the list of qualifications for prospective superintendents are an aptitude for data-driven decision making, collaborative and interpersonal communication, and a proven record of success in administrative education positions.
Wilson explained that the process for hiring a new superintendent is close to complete — the school board has selected two final candidates and expects a conclusive decision between the two to be made on or shortly after April 20.
On April 20, the board will be hosting a Zoom community forum for the two superintendent finalists, which will allow students and parents of the district to ask questions directly to the candidates.
One of the candidates, Suzanne Gruendling, is the current Director of Policy Implementation for the Essex-Westford School District in Essex Junction, Vt. Prior to her current role, Gruendling served as the principal of Summit Street Elementary school, also in Essex Junction. Gruendling holds a Master of Liberal Arts Management degree from Harvard Extension School and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Vermont.
The second candidate, Barbara Anne Komons-Montroll is the superintendent of the Windham Southwest Union Supervisory Union in Wilmington, Vt., a role which she has held since 2018. Komons-Montroll has been an educator in Vermont for over 30 years, holding previous roles as an elementary school teacher and principal in Underhill, Worcester and Charlotte. Komons-Montroll holds a Master of Educational Leadership degree from the University of Vermont.
Though transitioning from one superintendency to another is one of the most substantial shifts that a school district can undergo, the Addison County School District is committed to upholding their core mission statement throughout the adjustment, according to Wilson.
“Though it is inevitable that change will occur when you hire a new district leader, the board is committed to hiring a district leader who will help the board work towards fulfilling our mission,” Wilson wrote.