This article first appeared in the June 26, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.
Woodstock Union High School Principal Greg Schillinger will not be returning to the school next year.
Schillinger has handed in his resignation letter to the Windsor Central Supervisory Union. He will become the associate principal at Rutland High School next year.
The Rutland High School board unanimously accepted Schillinger’s appointment at a meeting Tuesday night, said Rutland City Public Schools Superintendent Mary Moran.
WCSU Superintendent Alice Worth sent an email to staff Saturday after Rutland City Public Schools said that Schillinger was “the finalist” for a principal position, she said.
Schillinger, who lives in Rutland, became the principal at WUHS in 2007. Before that he was an English teacher and an assistant teaching principal at the school. He’s been at WUHS for about 13 years, according to his biography on the high school’s website, and has been a teacher a total of 17 years.
“We had a very strong pool of candidates and his background and experience stood out,” Moran said.
Worth confirmed that the board would be discussing Schillinger’s resignation Wednesday night at a special meeting. She would not comment further until after the meeting.
WUHS Takes Little Time To Fill Principal Position
This article first appeared in the July 3, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.
By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
The Woodstock Union High School-Middle School board accepted Principal Greg Schillinger’s resignation and hired a new principal — all in one quick meeting.
Garon Smail, who has been the associate principal at WUHS for four years, was appointed principal by the board last Wednesday night.
There was no application or interview process. The board accepted Schillinger’s resignation and hired Smail in a 30-minute meeting on Wednesday, part of which was held in executive session. Smail accepted the two-year position immediately following the meeting, said School Board chair Dwight Doton.
“I think Garon is well qualified and well prepared for this position, even if we had more time, I would feel confident just offering this job to Garon,” Doton said.
Smail wouldn’t comment on the process, but Windsor Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Alice Worth called the swift process “very fair.”
Smail was an interim middle school principal for half the year in 2012-2013 while Dana Peterson went on sabbatical.
“He did a tremendous job,” Worth said. “He was very successful with kids and teachers. He was next in line to move up.”
The Vermont-National Education Association doesn’t tell schools how to negotiate contracts, but Communications Director Darren Allen said it was uncommon to make a quick decision, but not unusual for schools to hire internally. Given the time of the year, teacher’s union representative Keri Bristow was also supportive.
“He has the support of the staff, he’s proven himself,” Bristow said.
Smail will take over for Schillinger, who is leaving to be the associate principal at Rutland High School. Schillinger had been at the school for a total of 17 years. He started as an English teacher before he became an associate principal and then principal eight years ago. Schillinger had completed two years of this three-year contract, which he was released from at the board meeting on Wednesday.
Schilinger had spoken to Doton a month before handing in his resignation, saying he was thinking about applying for a vacant position in Rutland, Doton said.
“I didn’t know that it would be this year, but it wasn’t really surprising,” Doton said.
Schillinger, who lives in Rutland, said the timing was appropriate to leave Woodstock, given the leadership that’s currently at the school.
“It was an extremely difficult decision for me,” he said.
Schillinger has two kids who attend Rutland High School — one will be a junior and the other will be a sophomore. He commuted to Woodstock, spending about 1.5 hours in the car every day.
“At the end of the week, it’s 7.5 hours in the car, the impact on my family was a factor in the decision,” he said.
Rutland City Public Schools Superintendent Mary Moran confirmed Schillinger had been a candidate and that the board had approved his appointment last week.
“We were lucky to have such a strong pool of candidates, but his background, his experience stood out,” Moran said in a phone interview last week.
“We think Greg’s background and talent will dovetail beautifully with the direction we’re going,” she added.
Smail officially began his position July 1. He has been an educator for more than 20 years, some of which were at alternative schools. He was at Souhegan High School in Amherst, New Hampshire as a department chair before he came to Woodstock.
He’s going to be looking at curriculum redevelopment and continuing initiatives that Schillinger stated.
“There are a lot of things that Greg and I had already initiated as changes,” Smail said.
The school isn’t looking for another associate principal, instead the superintendent’s office has posted internally to fill a leadership position for somebody to do similar work that Smail did before.
The salary of the position is not yet known.
“We’re looking for full-time but we might combine it with another internal position,” Worth said.
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