CVSD superintendent resigns, will stay through school year

On Tuesday, March 19, the Champlain Valley School District board voted to accept the resignation of its superintendent.

Rene Sanchez said he is leaving to pursue a new opportunity, but did not say what that opportunity was. Several phone calls to find out what is next for the superintendent were not returned.

The next day, the district sent a release saying Sanchez will continue as superintendent through the rest of the 2023-24 school year, and the board of directors plans to appoint an interim superintendent for the 2024-25 school year.

At the meeting the board set June 14 as the last day of this school year.

Sanchez took over as superintendent in 2021, coming from a position as assistant superintendent of operations in South Bend, Ind. Before that he had been principal of César E. Chávez High School in Houston.

When he took the helm at the CVSD, Sanchez said one of his strengths as an administrator was connecting with the community. He regarded Vermont as good fit for his family because his wife is from Brattleboro and a University of Vermont graduate.

Sanchez took over after a national search to replace superintendent Elaine Pinckney, who had held the position for 15 years.

The school board has held at least three executive sessions for superintendent evaluations in recent months. The number of executive sessions may have increased this school year because the board has revamped its system for superintendent evaluations.

During his three years with the Champlain Valley School District, Sanchez implemented the district’s first “data warehouse” that combines all students’ data in one location so it is easier to identify their “academic and social-emotional needs and successes,” the district’s release said.

After voting to accept the superintendent’s “negotiated settlement,” a few of the school board members made statements thanking Sanchez for his service and applauding things that were achieved during his tenure.

“On behalf of the board I want to thank Superintendent Sanchez for his service to the district. We greatly appreciate that he’ll be staying through the school year to finish the work he has led and to ensure a smooth transition,” chair Meghan Metzler said.

She said the superintendent had led the district “through a very difficult time in public education.”

Sanchez had the courage to step into “openhearted spaces” that can transform a district, former board chair Angela Arsenault said, “I’m sad to see him go and excited to see where he lands.”

Lindsay Colf, the board member representing St. George, thanked Sanchez for his attention to Vermont’s smallest town.

In the district’s release, Sanchez said, “I will look back on my time as CVSD superintendent knowing that together we made significant progress creating systems in service to our students and our community.”

Note: The vote on the revised proposed school budget is 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday, April 16.