Gail Callahan, School Board Correspondent
With about two weeks to go before the start of a new school year, Charlotte Central School Lead Principal Barbara Anne Komons-Montroll is stepping away from her post to assume a new position in the Champlain Valley School District.
Komons-Montroll of Burlington has accepted the job of director of communications and public relations. She starts her new position the week of Aug. 28 and will work from the district’s central office in Shelburne.
“This role will involve my building relationships with the community across multiple mediums in order to promote mutual understanding and communication,” Komons-Montroll wrote in an email to the school community. “Additionally, I will support special projects related to our consolidation. This is such an exciting and worthwhile opportunity for me to pursue my passion of community relations that I could not pass it up when I saw the recent posting.”
Stephanie Sumner will take on the job of lead principal of CCS. Sumner said she will miss the working partnership she and Komons-Montroll developed as school principals together. “I really valued Barbara Anne’s strength in creating a vision for the work of our team, as well as her passion for creating strong community connection,” she said.
Komons-Montroll said she is grateful for the professional opportunities the lead principal position provided. “It has been both a privilege and a joy to work at such a great school as Charlotte Central School,” she said. “I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have worked with the talented and wonderful professionals who work at CCS. I will sincerely miss the children of Charlotte, who are at the heart of everything we do.”
Komons-Montroll’s CCS exit comes at a time when school population statewide is trending downward in many districts. In Charlotte, the decrease in school enrollment isn’t new. “It has been predicted to decrease by professionals the district hired to forecast enrollment based on births and patterns of families moving into Charlotte,” Komons-Montroll said. “This phenomenon is across most of Vermont.”
Sumner said school enrollment is impacted by various demographics, including employment opportunities and available housing. “Our enrollment has dropped slightly over the past few years. However, over the summer, our student population has increased with new enrollments and students returning from other programs,” she said. “In general, the State of Vermont is experiencing a measurable decline in its school-age population. Our data projections indicate that we will stay stable over the next couple of years and will then slightly increase.”
CCS has faced decisions regarding possible cuts to teachers and programs over the past few years. “CCS has not had any significant changes in terms of staffing solely due to population fluctuations,” Sumner said. “We have shifted our staffing in terms of the number of para-educators decreasing slightly and the number of licensed professional positions increasing, but that has been more about guiding principles than numbers.”
Sumner said the school has more teaching positions now, particularly in the essential arts, that are part-time, and has been consistent in offering two classrooms per grade. She does not anticipate any reduction in the number of classes or programs this year.