This article by Greg Sukiennik originally appeared August 2 in the Manchester Journal.
MANCHESTER — Area education professionals are praising the choice of Daniel French as the state’s new secretary of education.
The appointment of French, who for nine years was superintendent of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union, was announced on Thursday by Gov. Phil Scott at the Statehouse in Montpelier.
“[French] sees the opportunity and the necessity we have to transform our system from good to great. And he has the expertise to work with districts and local education leaders to re-center the system’s focus on expanding opportunities and improving outcomes for our kids in a way that’s sustainable and affordable for taxpayers,” Scott said of the appointment.
In the Northshire, French was described Thursday as a big-picture thinker, as an inspirational leader, and as a capable administrator who understands the needs of building principals and teachers. They said French is skilled in understanding complicated systems and finding efficiencies and outside-the-box solutions, and has a firm command of education technology and how it can be used to provide personalized learning.
“I think the fit is perfect for our times in this state,” said current BRSU Superintendent Jacquelyne Wilson. “Dan is going to bring a world of expertise around understanding systems and efficiencies that we need.”
“He has a view of education that will serve us well. And he’s incredibly respected by professionals in this state,” she said. “They trust him and they know he knows his stuff.”
On Thursday, French said despite the challenges facing the state’s K-12 schools. “we are fortunate to have significant talent and capacity for innovation at all levels. Because of this capacity, I am optimistic about our future.”
“Many of our challenges in education can be seen as systems or organizational challenges. Act 46 has been very successful in moving us down a path toward rightsizing our governance structure. We must now leverage this work to transform our system into a world class education system, a system that offers expanded learning opportunities for every Vermonter, and a system that contributes to broader social and economic development of our state,” he said.
French said he is definitely excited about the work. “It’s gratifying to receive support from so many stakeholders in our educational system,” he said.
Read full article at the Manchester Journal.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)