MANCHESTER — A husband-and-wife team of educators has been hired by the Manchester school board to serve as co-principals for the coming school year at the Manchester Elementary Middle School.
Martin and Irene Nadler of Bondville accepted an offer from the school's directors Monday, July 25, to oversee the school through June 30, 2017, replacing Thomas Quinn. He had stepped down from the post after one year last month following the school's commencement exercises.
"We were interested in it last year and we have a lot of experience we could bring to the position to help move the school forward," Irene Nadler said during a phone interview Tuesday. "When the position opened up again we figured we'd re-apply and see what happened."
The Nadlers will split a $110,000 salary for a one year contract through next June, while the school board mounts another search later this fall in hopes of attracting a principal for the long term, said school board Chairman Mark Kaplan. The Nadlers could apply for the position during the coming search if they want to, he added.
They had offered their services both in consulting and interim principalship roles to the school board, he said, and since they had been candidates in the earlier search which led to Quinn's hiring, the board was already familiar with them, he said.
"The board really liked the idea of a team to help us evaluate and move forward," he said.
It won't be the first time in recent years MEMS will have been led by a team of co-principals. From 2002 to 2006, Jacquelyne Wilson, now the interim school superintendent of the Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union served as a co-principal with Jacqueline Parks, before Parks left to become the principal of a school in Williston. Wilson said she had a lot of confidence in the Nadler's abilities to take on the post.
"I'm excited for MEMS, having been a co-principal myself," Wilson said. "I know the power that can come from a shared leadership model. We are very fortunate to have two highly qualified and competent leaders step into this role. I know MEMS will benefit from their leadership."
With MEMS having undergone several leadership changes at the principalship level in recent years, Wilson sees securing long-term effective leadership to the post as a priority, in response to a question about what she saw as the main challenges that lay ahead for MEMS. She expects the Nadlers will bring a renewed energy to the school as well as instructional leadership that will bolster student learning, she said.
The Nadlers bring extensive experience as educators to Manchester's public elementary and middle school. Both began their careers as classroom teachers. Martin Nadler was the principal of Northport Middle School in Northport, Long Island, from 1984-2000. Since then he has done consulting work for several school districts both in New York and Vermont. He also served as an interim principal of Ticonderoga High School in Ticonderoga, N.Y. from 2002-03, and was also the principal of Whitingham Elementary/Twin Valley Middle School from July 2005 to June 2006. He followed that by serving as the assistant superintendent and director of special education at the Windham Southwest Supervisory Union from July 2006 to June 2008. Currently, he is the chairman of the Winhall School Board, a post from which he will step down from next week.
Irene Nadler was the principal of the Pulaski Road School in Northport, Long Island, from 1986-2001. In addition to doing some educational consulting since then, she was an interim principal at an elementary school in Cohoes, N.Y. for three months in 2002, then served as the interim head of The Mountain School at Winhall from April 2003 to June 2004. For the 2006-07 school year she served at Whitingham Elementary/Twin Valley Middle School as assistant principal, following her husband's tenure there. More recently, she was an interim assistant principal at the Bennington Elementary School from April to June of 2012.
Most of her experience is in the elementary grades, while her husband's in the middle school range, and she expects they will divide responsibilities along those lines. However, she also anticipates there will be overlaps and they will both be involved in issues that affect the school as a whole, she said.
In addition to their work in Whitingham, they also worked together on a consulting project that analyzed the Black River School in Ludlow, so they are used to working together, she added.
"We're planning to literally open our doors to parents, teachers and community members to come and speak with us and get a sense of what they feel are the concerns, strengths and challenges we will face," Irene Nadler said. "We want to listen for awhile and find out what the feeling is from the constituents who are intimately involved with it."