Mountain School on the move

To the Editor:
Happy New Year from all of us at The Mountain School at Winhall. I want to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on two critical issues that have the full attention of the Board of Trustees: our search for a new Head of School and our ongoing desire for our own permanent home.

As you know, Daren Houck, our Head of School for the past 10 years, has accepted the position of Headmaster of Lyndon Institute, effective July 1, 2014. We are grateful for Daren's leadership of our school over the past decade and excited for the new challenge and opportunity which lie ahead for him. In the same breath we are very fortunate to have trustee John Clark chairing the Search Committee as we seek new leadership for MSW. John is a senior consultant for Carney, Sandoe & Associates, one of the country's leading search firms for leadership positions in education. Already there has been considerable interest in the position, and we have been conducting telephone interviews (and a few personal ones as well) to determine which candidates we will invite to the campus to meet with the Search Committee. I know that John will keep you all abreast of developments as we move toward announcing the new Head of The Mountain School over the coming months. Obviously we seek an individual with great energy, a committed vision and an understanding of the unique mission of the school. One of the first tasks facing the new Head will be guiding us to a permanent home for the school.

Four years ago when we developed our current strategic plan, we recognized that it was critical to own our own facility in order to fully realize our educational vision for our students. As you know, Winhall voters considered and denied our offer to purchase our current facility. Since then we have been very busy, and I want to bring you up to date on our efforts.

We are in the first year of a three-year lease with the Winhall School Board. While there remains the possibility that we may wish to renew this lease when it expires in 2016, we have been actively pursuing other options. Last summer I asked trustee and Winhall resident Larry Wohler to chair the Vision 2020 Committee with the charge of researching possible land acquisitions in the Winhall or Stratton areas that would serve the school for the long term. The committee consists of trustees John Clark, Daren Houck and me, and community members Kim Wohler, Sky Foulkes, Bob Jones and Carolyn Blitz. We have had several productive meetings and have even walked some properties located a short distance from our current location. Clearly any action on this front will require the vision and wisdom of our new Head. Once that appointment has been made, we will begin to move forward with earnest on this initiative. In short, we remain 100 percent committed to owning our own property and the obvious fund raising implications that will allow us to realize this objective.

Finally, it is my pleasure to announce that at it January Board meeting the trustees elected Larry Wohler to succeed me as MSW's board chair. I announced last summer that I would be stepping down from this position that I have held for the past three years. I will now serve on the board as chair of the Governance Committee. The Mountain School has a bright and exciting future and perhaps this is why we are attracting truly qualified candidates to step into Daren's shoes.

Again, my best for a prosperous new year for you and your family. Charles Scranton Bondville


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