Why Vermont's top jobs in education turn over so quickly

Friday, May 23, 2014

It took a lot of red ink and behind-the-scenes negotiations to get Burlington School Superintendent Jeanne Collins to agree to resign last week — effective at the end of the school year — after nine years on the job. But an alarming number of her counterparts around the state are leaving of their own accord.

At the end of June, nearly a third of Vermont's 60-something superintendents are leaving their posts. That is cause for concern if you ask Vermont's secretary of education, Rebecca Holcombe. "If this was a business," she recalled recently telling a group of state senators, "and you had 30 percent turnover every year, you'd think it was a crisis."

Even more vexing: "The same person is a finalist in five searches, which suggests there are not enough candidates statewide," Holcombe said.

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