Vilaseca stays in top education post

MANCHESTER - when Gov. Peter Shumlin announced last week that Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca will be appointed as the state's first Education Secretary, a cabinet-level post, he passed over Daniel French, the current superintendent of the Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union.

Vilaseca will serve as Vermont's first Education Secretary for up to one year.

French was one of three candidates for the position, which were announced back in November.

"I wish [Vilaseca] the best," said French. "He is very deserving of the position and I am sure he will do a great job."

Shumlin said he will be searching for a new Education Secretary next summer, and French could be a possible candidate once that time roles around. "I don't know," said French when asked if he would apply for the position once it opens up again. "Right now I am pretty busy with budget stuff. I have not considered applying."

In 2009, French was named the top superintendent in Vermont by the Vermont Superintendents Association and is currently in his sixth year as superintendent of the BRSU, which overseas Manchester Elementary-Middle School, The Dorset School, Sunderland Elementary School, Currier Memorial School, and Mettawee Community School. Vilaseca has served as commissioner of education since 2009. The changeover from commissioner to secretary means that the governor now gets to appoint the person for that position, rather than the state school board, making the secretary accountable to governor, who can now presumably enjoy a freer hand to select someone aligned with the governor's views on education policy.


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