SUTTON - Sutton School Principal Brian Rayburn announced Wednesday he has taken the principal's job at Blue Mountain Union School in Newbury.
Rayburn has been at the Sutton School's helm for the past three years, including last year's budget crisis and more recently the mold abatement project at the school.
Caledonia North Supervisory Union Superintendent Victoria Scheufler said Thursday that Rayburn's resignation and decision were announced at the Wednesday evening school board meeting, at which Rayburn had asked for an executive session to discuss personnel issues.
Rayburn praised the school's staff Thursday.
"The teachers at Sutton School are an amazing group of people," he said. "They are dedicated to the students and school and it is evident in the quality of education the students receive. I want to thank the staff and school board for the opportunity to lead the school through some serious challenges. My family and I will miss the friends we have made in the school and community and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
"I have accepted the principal position at Blue Mountain Union School. It saddens me to leave Sutton, but I am excited about the opportunity to work for Blue Mountain Union School," Rayburn said.
In his resignation letter, Rayburn asked to be released from his contract effective June 30.
The school board had posted on its agenda a discussion to "Assess Principal Position for 2011."
Scheufler said that came up because of some community concern that a full-time principal might not be needed given the declining enrollment.
"The discussion of the 2011 principalship in Sutton took a back seat to Brian Rayburn's request to be released from his Fiscal Year 2010 contract with Sutton, and for the board to accept his resignation," Scheufler said. "The board accepted (Rayburn's stepping down) with deep regret."
Blue Mountain Superintendent Richard Pike could not be reached Thursday, but Rayburn's appointment was confirmed by Lisa Oakes, Pike's administrative assistant. She said Rayburn was chosen by the Blue Mountain School Board at its meeting Wednesday evening, the same night Rayburn was submitting his resignation.
Oakes said Rayburn will be replacing Carol Curtis, who has been principal the past eight years. She said the school was not aware of Curtis's next position as yet.
Scheufler said, "Discussion followed as to what the board will look for in a replacement."
The staff at Sutton School was notified of Rayburn's departure Thursday.
The principal's job may remain a full-time position. Scheufler said the Vermont Department of Education rules and regulations indicate schools with 10 or more full-time equivalent teachers shall employ a full-time licensed principal. Schools with fewer than 10 FTE teachers shall employ a licensed principal on a pro-rata basis.
"Sutton currently has just over 13 FTEs for next year. Considering the declining enrollment and need for prudent spending, the number of FTE teachers may decline in future years," Scheufler said.
Scheufler said the teachers' contract affects the possibility of hiring a part-time teaching principal in the future.
"When a full-time principal is no longer necessary, Sutton, or any school, would need a teaching vacancy in order to bring in a teaching principal from outside the school." she said. "For example, if a current teacher were let go in order to hire a new teaching principal, the teacher (who was cut through a Reduction In Force notice) would have the right to be called back for the teaching part of the position under the teachers' contract."
Only if a new teaching position or an unfilled position came up, could a new hire take the position.
Scheufler said, "This resignation was unexpected and the need for a strong full-time leader in Sutton, who can design changes as the school restructures, still exists."
Brian Rayburn has been in Sutton for three years. He was under contract for next year at $63,402. He went to Sutton from Concord School where he taught social studies and was a supervisory union curriculum leader, Scheufler said.
"A posting is being composed today and it is expected to be out soon on School Spring," the Web site where education jobs are posted, Scheufler said. "The turn around time for responses will be two or three weeks, during which time a search process will be developed and committee selected. Certainly we hope to have chosen a replacement by July 1."