WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Faced with two strong contenders or a single principal position, the Mount Greylock Regional School District hired them both.
Superintendent Kimberley Grady on Thursday afternoon announced she has named Jake Schutz to be the principal at Mount Greylock Regional School and Kristen Thompson to the corner office at Williamstown Elementary.
Schutz is the current vice principal at the middle-high school. Thompson is an assistant principal at West Mesa High School in Albuquerque, N.M.
Three weeks ago, Schutz and Thompson were announced as the two finalists for the Mount Greylock position being vacated after seven years by Mary MacDonald.
"Both were equally strong for the Mount Greylock position," Grady said. "But Kristen had the opportunity to be pulled into the finalist rounds at Williamstown Elementary.
"She initially hadn't applied for the Williamstown position. Then there were people on both committees with me who said, 'Wouldn't it be great if she could interview for WES?' "
Thompson has 11 years of experience in education, beginning her career as a kindergarten teacher. She also has taught middle school, according to an email Grady sent Thursday to the school community.
Grady said Thursday afternoon that the University of New Mexico graduate has family in Western Massachusetts and has visited the Berkshires.
"Kristen brings specific skills and experience that I believe are critical to supporting WES at this particular time. Importantly, she brings extensive administrative experience across the full spectrum of student experience from K-12," Grady wrote in the announcement. "Specifically, Kristen brings a focus on collaborative learning and co-teaching, extensive knowledge of technology integration and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. She looks forward to facilitating the transition to a school culture based on restorative practices."
Schutz also has experience in the restorative justice and inclusivity initiatives that are prominent at Mount Greylock. The Adams native came to Mount Greylock seven years ago from Hoosac Valley High School, where he taught special education.
"Jake demonstrates a commitment to championing a school culture focused on the best interests of students," Grady wrote. "He will work collaboratively with all involved with remote learning to enhance experiences; this will be essential in the year to come."
She mentioned Thursday afternoon that she is excited to maintain continuity in the leadership team at Mount Greylock as the school faces an uncertain September while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and March's closure of the school building.
Williamstown Elementary also will benefit from continuity with the continued presence of Assistant Principal Elea Kaatz.
Williamstown's outgoing principal, Joelle Brookner, announced this winter that she was leaving the post to become the regional school district's director of curriculum, instruction and technology, a post that has been vacant since MacDonald left the position in 2013.
MacDonald, meanwhile, in January announced her intention to get out administration and back into the classroom. Grady said Thursday that MacDonald has applied for a teaching position at Mount Greylock that Schutz will fill after he becomes principal on July 1.
Grady was aided in the nationwide principal searches by an 18-member search committee at Mount Greylock that included faculty, staff, parents and guardians and students. A 15-member search committee assisted with the process at the elementary school.
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Clark Art Screens 'Daughters of the Dust'
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — On Thursday, Oct. 5, the Clark Art Institute continues its four-part film series examining the L.A. Rebellion, presented in celebration and anticipation of the Clark's 2023 Conference, "The Fetish A(r)t Work: African Objects in the Making of European Art History, 1500–1900."
The Clark shows Daughters of the Dust at 6 pm in its auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.
According to a press release:
The first American feature directed by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release, "Daughters of the Dust" (1991; 1 hour, 52 minutes) is set in 1902 and tells the story of a "Gullah" family, descendants of African captives who escaped the slave trade to live on islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Here, many members of the Peazant family are on the verge of a planned migration to the United States. Directed by Julie Dash, a brilliant cast does justice to the decision the Peazants face: to embrace or abandon the land their ancestors fled.
The potential cuts in the project were presented to the School Committee last week on the heels of news that the low bid for the new eight-lane track and multi-purpose grass athletic field came back 40 percent over the district's estimate.
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She said the school uses athletic ticket sales mostly for expenses like equipment, supplies and uniforms. In the theater program, ticket revenue defrays the cost of costumes, props and rights fees for productions.
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Select Board member Stephanie Boyd has been advocating that the town consider adopting the commonwealth's residential tax exemption as a way to shift some of the tax levy away from owners of lower-priced homes and toward owners of higher-end properties.
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The 2.4-mile leg of that larger project was completed earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which turned over ownership of the trail from Syndicate Road to the Spruces Park to the Town of Williamstown. click for more