While at MSW, Houck directed the school to record enrollments, helped earn the school accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and oversaw dramatic increases in standardized test scores in reading and math among MSW students. He also created a 5-STAR rated (highest rating in Vermont) Pre-Kindergarten program, a middle school international program (SEVP approved) that included a middle school summer camp, and founded the OPUS project, a creative multi-disciplinary, arts- and technology-integrated thematic-based curriculum for all grade levels. The OPUS project led to the introduction of a unique Collaborative Problem-Based Learning (CPBL) model, imbedding critical thinking and problem solving into the school-wide curriculum.
"Daren's contributions to MSW are without equal," Chuck Scranton, Chairman of MSW's Board of Trustees said. "He has provided a steady hand and an unparalleled commitment that we have greatly valued. Above all, Daren has created an exemplary educational environment at MSW, where students feel safe, comfortable, validated and nurtured."
"It is with great humility, excitement and gratitude that I accept the position of Headmaster at Lyndon Institute," said Houck. "I understand the value, importance and opportunities that a 'private school with a public mission' can bring to the children and communities of Vermont and the world.
"At the same time, this was not an easy decision to make. I have personally accepted every student currently enrolled at MSW, hired every employee, and worked on attracting every trustee to the Board except one. This school is very close to me, and very personal - as it is for many of us."
Previous to his role at MSW, Houck served as the Director of Special Programs and the 21st Century Community Learning Center Site Coordinator for the Booker Middle School in Sarasota, Fla. He began his career in education by serving as a language arts and social studies teacher at the Northwestern Middle School in Springfield, Ohio. Houck earned his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida and a B.A. in Education from Cedarville College, located in Cedarville, Ohio.
Scranton has appointed Trustee John Clark of Windham to chair a search committee to find Houck's replacement for the 2014-15 school year.