2018-04-19 / Front Page

Northfield & Williamstown Get New Principals

Staff Report
The Northfield News

Last Monday, the Paine Mountain School Board unanimously approved the hiring of Denise Russell as the elementary school principal for Northfield.
She has served as principal of Brighton Elementary School since 2013 and will replace Wayne Howe as principal of Northfield Elementary School.
Mr. Howe served as principal of the pre-K through 5th-grade school since 2014. His decision to retire at the end of the school year caused the school board to institute the search that ended with the new hiring.
She is scheduled to start work July 1 after she wraps up her contractual obligations in the North Country Supervisory Union which includes Brighton’s pre-K-8 school.
Ms. Russell will join the Paine Mountain district with Renee Badeau as the newest members of Superintendent Susette Bollard’s leadership team. 
Ms. Badeau was recently selected by the Paine Mountain board to replace Scott Lang the retiring principal of Williamstown Middle-High School. 
She presently works as director of student management at Harwood Union Middle High School in Duxbury and will officially join the Paine Mountain team on July 1.
Peter Evans, chairman of the Paine Mountain board, said the hiring process used to fill both administrative vacancies was the same and he was enthusiastic about Russell’s hiring.
“We’re lucky to have her,” he said, she's a “perfect fit” for an elementary school that serves roughly four times as many students in two fewer grades than the one she has been running in Brighton for the last five years. “I’m excited about what she brings to the table,” he added.
Russell told board members she did not believe that she would have any trouble adapting to a larger elementary school. She said she was more concerned about the time it will take to build relationships with parents, students and teachers that she believes are critical to being an effective leader.
“It’s going to be hard to go back to ‘ground zero’ in terms of relationships,” she said. “Its very important to me that I have as much information as possible particularly from the Northfield,” she added.
She currently lives in Newport but acknowledged that she does have some ties to central Vermont where she was a self-employed violin teacher in Montpelier for 12 years and served as an administrative intern at Montpelier’s Union Elementary School while wrapping up work on on the master’s degree in school administration she received from the University of Vermont in 2013.
Ms. Russell majored in ethnomusicology as an undergraduate student at Indiana University-Bloomington receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1989. In 1996, she obtained her teacher certification from San Francisco State University and taught for kindergarten for four years in San Francisco before moving to Vermont in 2001.

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