Message From Our Superintendent
Dear OSSD Community,
I would like to take some time to talk about some important transitions in personnel as we prepare for what will hopefully be a more normal school year in the fall. The foundation of any successful organization or program are the people that comprise it. We have two leadership transitions due to retirements this year, and it is important that we recognize the contributions of those individuals while we also welcome those who will step into their roles in the fall.
As many of you know, Patricia Miller, the principal of Braintree Elementary is retiring at the end of this school year. Pat came to the district in the mid-90’s as a long-term substitute teacher, transitioned to being a special education teacher and eventually principal at Braintree. Pat has been an eminent leader within the district throughout her tenure: mentoring new staff, creating a high performing school, and advancing the social, emotional, and academic development of all children under her care. In recent years, when the district envisioned a phased approach to creating full-time, free public pre-school for all four-year-olds, Pat quickly stepped to the task and advanced the goal despite the tremendous level of regulations that made such work difficult. She is to be commended for her work here and it is my hope that as the year winds down that the members of the Braintree community will each take a few moments to thank her for the tremendous energy she has shown on their behalf: an email, a card, a simple thank you in the parking lot or via phone.
When Pat announced her retirement, a full search committee was formed to find her replacement. At the end of a thoughtful and deliberative process, they unanimously recommended the hiring of Heather Lawler who has since been presented and approved by the OSSD School Board and who has accepted the position.
Heather comes to us from Windsor Central Supervisory Union in Woodstock where she currently serves as the principal at two elementary schools as well as the assistant principal at the High school. She possesses an undergraduate and two graduate degrees and has worked in education since 2003 in both Vermont and New Jersey. She brings a wealth of experience to her new role and we will officially welcome her aboard on July 1st.
Steven Kinney, our special education director, is also retiring at the end of this school year. This will be Steve’s 50th year in education, with most of those years served in the OSSD. Steve’s understanding of special education law is exceptional, and he is one of the kindest and most caring individuals I personally have met over the course of my career – a trait that allowed him to successfully navigate the enormous demands placed on him by this position without generating the conflicts that can be all too typical in this role. Aside from everything else, it is his positivity and personable demeanor that will be missed the most.
After a thorough search process by a representative committee, Kayla Link was the chosen candidate to take over as OSSD’s special education director. Kayla has worked in special education and intervention in our district since 2013. She has progressively taken on leadership roles throughout her time here and has worked closely with Steve on number of initiatives. She is nearing completion of an advanced degree in leadership which complements her degrees in applied behavioral analysis and social science. She has also obtained an advanced certificate in autism. Her first official day in this new role will be July 1st.
I would close this message by sending Pat and Steve my personal gratitude. The positions they have held are difficult ones, and many people who have held such roles choose other paths after only a few years. I thank them both for doing difficult work, in uncertain times, over many years that have served so many so well.
Layne Millington, Superintendent