CAVENDISH, Vt. – The GMUSD school board meeting took place Tuesday, April 17, and residents arrived to voice their concern over the candidates for the CTES interim principal position. Many Cavendish residents felt uneasy about the choice of principal being narrowed down to Madeline Carlock after Joseph Smith withdrew himself from consideration the Sunday before the meeting.
With 10 years of educational experience, Carlock had met the minimum requirements posted on the job listing by the Green Mountain Unified School District and was introduced to the community April 11 during a public Q&A meeting. However, her vocalized passion for public education was not enough to sway resident Denise Hughes.
“It became clear Wednesday night at the community forum that hiring for an ‘interim’ principal will not offer CTES what it deserves,” she commented.
Many residents feel that the position should be permanent to attract more applications and potential, and they vocalized their concern at the GMUSD meeting in the 15-minute slot for public comments.
Towards the end of the meeting, the board went into executive session to interview Madeline Carlock for the position. However, only two members of the search committee were allowed to provide input during the interview. The search committee pointed out that they had not made a recommendation, which Superintendent Meg Powden believed they had.
When the executive session ended, Andover representative Joe Fromberger suggested that Madeline Carlock be hired as interim principal with a salary of $80,000. With a vote of 5 to 3, the motion was passed. However, the next morning she declined the offer of the position, feeling that she wouldn’t succeed without the support of the community.
Since then, concerned citizens drafted a petition for the school board to advertise the position as permanent instead of interim. Residents of Cavendish, Baltimore, Chester, and Andover are allowed to sign the online document, which has also been placed in public locations for easy accessibility. The online petition has received over 200 signatures, prompting an email that was sent to superintendent Meg Powden on Monday, April 23, to inform her of community disapproval. She was asked to consider changing the position to full time and calling an emergency board meeting this week. The request was then forwarded to Chairman Marilyn Mahuskey. Present Principal George Thomson opted to remain neutral in the discussion and did not want to comment.