JAMAICA — Next school year, Jamaica Village School will have a principal who also teaches.
Superintendent Bill Anton said for two years, the school had a part-time principal after Pam Bernardo resigned. Bernardo came to the district after retiring as a principal in Pennsylvania.
During the current school year, a pilot program split NewBrook Elementary School Principal Scotty Tabachnick’s time between his school in Newfane and the one in Jamaica.
“We’re always looking to see if we can improve our service to our communities and to our families within the budgetary constraints that the public so generously gives us,” Anton said at a recent West River Education District Board meeting.
Anton said Monica Deuse, a teacher at Jamaica Village School since 2017, is willing to enter into a 11-month program to become a principal using money available through contractual means. Deuse, who taught in Florida from 2003 to 2017, “excels in cultivating and maintaining positive and productive relationships with all educational constituencies including parents, students, administrators, and the community,” states a resume.
Anton said the job of the teaching principal position is comparable to the one at Windham Elementary School, which also is part of the Windham Central Supervisory Union. He expects 18 students to be enrolled in Jamaica next school year.
Anton recommended establishing the teaching principal position “highly and strongly because it provides an intimate, focused service to the community of Jamaica and those students as well as it doesn’t kind of split the responsibilities, the energies and the actions of the principal at NewBrook, and it’s within our budgetary constraints.”
The School Board unanimously approved authorizing Anton to create the position for the upcoming school year.
In an interview, Deuse said she’s taking an internship course at Upper Valley Educators Institute in Lebanon, N.H., starting in August. Tabachnick, who told her about the program, will be her mentor.
“You have to meet certain criteria,” said Deuse, who hopes to have a provisionary license to start next school year as the teaching principal.
At one point in Florida, Deuse worked as dean of students in a middle school.
“That gave me a taste of the administrative side,” she said. “I always had an interest in that but I have my feet in the classroom. This is the best of both worlds for me.”
Deuse called Jamaica Village School “very near and dear to my heart.”
“From the moment I walked into that school, I felt welcomed and I felt loved,” she said. “That’s what I carry on every single day, that same feeling. I make sure everyone feels welcomed and loved. I feel very fortunate and privileged to be given this opportunity to serve the community like this.”