BVSU names new superintendent, mulls creating business office

ARLINGTON -- The Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union officially announced the hiring of superintendent Judith Pullinen and discussed the logistics of creating a business office at its board meeting Wednesday.

Pullinen was selected unanimously by the BVSU board during the March 12 meeting. Contract arrangements will be not be considered as finalized until the Agency of Education approves the appointment, although the officials from the AOE have assured the district that the approval will occur with no problems. Pullinen is scheduled to begin her duties on July 1.

Pullinen is currently the superintendent and director of the River Valley Career and Technical Center in Springfield, a position she has held since 2010. Prior to that, she was superintendent of the Rutland Windsor Supervisory Union in Ludlow from 2007-2010. She was a middle school principal in Springfield from 2001-2007.

"I am very excited to work with BVSU and the Arlington Schools," said Pullinen in a release. "I enjoy the atmosphere of small schools and believe that my skills and abilities are a good match for the schools. One of my goals is to provide good educational opportunities for every child and keep the schools viable."

The appointment is the culmination of a three-month process, which began when the SU board formed a search committee, headed by Celeste Keel of Sandgate. The committee used the services of Dr. William Miles, of the Vermont School Boards Association. With his help, the search committee screened and checked the references of several candidates, before interviewing four and deciding on two final candidates. At the last minute, one of the two candidates pulled out of the race, leaving Pullinen as the clear favorite for the position.

In January, Miles said that 11 people had applied for the position, although not all of those who applied were qualified. At the time, he had expressed a goal that the new superintendent be "signed, sealed, and delivered," by March 1, a goal the committee was not far off from. Miles had expressed concern that, with so many school systems in the area looking for superintendents, one of the preferred candidates might be hired away.

The BVSU board also announced that they have received dozens of applications for their recently posted business manager position. Board chairman K. John Smith said that Pullinen will play a large role in the hiring of the business manager, as that person will run the BVSU's new business office, and will work very closely with the superintendent. The board is hoping to have completed the hire by May 15.

The BVSU currently has an agreement with the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union to utilize its business office until June 30. Those relations may continue after that date, however, as the board voted unanimously to allow Smith to negotiate with the SVSU an extension of those services, of no more than four months, to ease the transition. SVSU chief financial officer Rick Pembroke was in attendance for the meeting, and he said that his office would be willing to help in any capacity it can.

The BVSU owns a license for the business software they currently use, however, the software and data is housed on a server in Bennington, owned by the SVSU. BVSU will pay a fee to the SVSU for rental of the server space, and to cover the cost of maintenance. That fee has not yet been negotiated.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB


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