2006.11.02: November 2, 2006: Headlines: COS - Lesotho: Secondary Education: The Bennington Banner: Lesotho RPCV Gregory Scieszka to retire as superintendant of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Lesotho: Peace Corps Lesotho : The Peace Corps in Lesotho: 2006.11.02: November 2, 2006: Headlines: COS - Lesotho: Secondary Education: The Bennington Banner: Lesotho RPCV Gregory Scieszka to retire as superintendant of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-250-74-101.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - on Monday, December 04, 2006 - 9:41 am: Edit Post

Lesotho RPCV Gregory Scieszka to retire as superintendant of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

Lesotho RPCV Gregory Scieszka to retire as superintendant of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

Early in his education career, he took two years away from his first teaching job, at Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, Mass., to spend two years with his wife in the Peace Corps, teaching math and history in Lesotho, a nation completely surrounded by South Africa, at a time before the earlier apartheid regime was displaced by the present government.

Lesotho RPCV Gregory Scieszka to retire as superintendant of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

Scieszka to retire as superintendent
Andrew McKeever, Manchester Journal
Article Launched:11/02/2006 03:08:21 AM EST

Thursday, November 2
MANCHESTER One of the state's longest continuously serving school superintendents is stepping down at the end of this school year.

Gregory Scieszka Jr., 58, the superintendant of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union, announced that the current school year will be his final one. He became the superintendent in January 1990, making him third only to William Mathis of the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union and Alice Angney, a superintendent of the Lamoille South Supervisory Union, based in Stowe, in terms of seniority among the state's 63 superintendents. The BRSU covers the school districts of Dorset, Manchester, Rupert, Sunderland, Danby, Mount Tabor and Pawlet.

Scieszka said he decided to retire from his present post to pursue other interests that had been on hold.

"I've always wanted to retire before I reached 60, and it's time to move on," he said. "There are tons of things I've been exploring and looking at for a long time."

He expects to continue working in several volunteer capacities as well as other occasional part time work, he said.

For the past seven years he has worked during the weekends at Hildene, the former country
estate of Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Abraham Lincoln, in Manchester as a volunteer tour guide.

He has also been a volunteer with the Bromley Outing Club, a outdoor exploration group based at the Bromley Mountain ski area in Peru, for the past 27 years, he said.

Early in his education career, he took two years away from his first teaching job, at Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, Mass., to spend two years with his wife in the Peace Corps, teaching math and history in Lesotho, a nation completely surrounded by South Africa, at a time before the earlier apartheid regime was displaced by the present government.

He'll have served as a superintendent for more than 17 years by the time he formally steps down in June 2007, leaving big shoes to fill, said Jacquelyne Parks, the principal of Manchester Elementary Middle School.

"As a superintendent he was always very supportive of us," she said. "It wasn't a top down approach it was a collaborative approach and you don't always find that."

What was even more remarkable was that Scieszka was able to pull that off while running a district that didn't have its own secondary school, and that sent a significant number of students acrosss state lines to high school in New York, she said.

Scieszka never forgot to put the students first when it came to education, and even after he moved into an administrative position he would look forward to going into a classroom to teach, said Ann Smith, a former Manchester school director.

He also had a remarkable ability to recall facts and numbers that was helpful when boards were crafting school budgets, she said.

An emphasis on what student's are actually learning, instead of looking solely at what teacher's are supposed to be teaching, is one of the biggest shifts in educational practice he has overseen during his tenure, Scieszka said.

Simply including certain educational content in a curriculum isn't enough to ensure that students have actually absorbed the material and proven themselves ready to move on to the next level. The challenge for teachers now is to demonstrate their students are reaching accepted standards of competency at each grade level, and not to pass students up the system assuming they will learn it the following year, he said.

"We're not looking at what you covered and what you taught, but when you were doing that were the students really learning," he said.

Assessing whether that's going on is an ongoing process, but most people outside of educational circles think of that as ocurring through annual mandated tests that have sprung from the "No Child Left Behind" legislation passed by Congress in 2002. But the mandated tests have their drawbacks, he said.

More testing

With testing now covering students from the second grade through the eighth, state-required testing soaks up a tremendous amount of time that could otherwise be spent teaching. Secondly, assessment results can easily be misunderstood by the public, making schools seem stronger or weaker than they really are, he said.

One year a school, particularly one with a relatively small enrollment, might earn low marks in the testing process, in part because one grade struggles with one of the tests. The next year, with a new group of students in that particular grade might pass with flying colors, but that doesn't necessarily mean the entire school was better or worse from one year to the next, he said.

"You don't want to mislead the public that everything's great or everything's bad, but that's what happens a lot," he said. "People generalize when some scores are down."

With school costs a perenial hot topic, especially with property taxes rising as school enrollment declines, school district and supervisory union consolidation is being looked at as a possible way to reduce adminisrative costs without cutting into instruction quality. There are pros and cons to that, Scieszka said.

Much of a superintendent's time is spent traveling to school board meetings of the school districts contained within a supervisory union Scieszka said it was not uncommon for him to be out two or three nights on a typical week. Consolidation of school districts would in theory lighten that burden, but runs up against a deep seated desire on the part of many communities to hang on to their own elected school board, he said. But that also breeds a complexity to the job that is one of the main reasons the average tenure of a school superintendent in Vermont is only about three years, he said.

Scieszka, who said he always knew he wanted a career in education, as far back as his own days in elementary school, first began teaching in 1969. Since then he taught math at Manchester Elementary-Middle School, was a principal at Sunderland Elementary School, and served as an assistant superintendent with the BRSU from 1984 to 1989, before being named superintendent in 1990.

Building close relationships with other people affiliated with the BRSU is obe of the accomplishments he feels good about as he prepares to step down, he said. By and large, the amount of staff turnover has been fairly small, he said.

"I think I'm leaving the BRSU in a good light," he said. "People see it in a positive way and we've been able to attract and keep good people."

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: November, 2006; Peace Corps Lesotho; Directory of Lesotho RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Lesotho RPCVs; Secondary Education; New Hampshire

When this story was posted in December 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Ron Tschetter in Morocco and Jordan Date: November 18 2006 No: 1038 Ron Tschetter in Morocco and Jordan
On his first official trip since being confirmed as Peace Corps Director, Ron Tschetter (shown at left with PCV Tia Tucker) is on a ten day trip to Morocco and Jordan. Traveling with his wife (Both are RPCVs.), Tschetter met with volunteers in Morocco working in environment, youth development, health, and small business development. He began his trip to Jordan by meeting with His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and discussed expanding the program there in the near future.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

November 12, 2006: This Month's Top Stories Date: November 12 2006 No: 1030 November 12, 2006: This Month's Top Stories
Michael O'Hanlon writes: The New Congress and Iraq 9 Nov
Amanda Host named new PC Press Director 12 Nov
Shays will reach across the aisle for answers in Iraq 8 Nov
Petri loses chance to become committee chairman 8 Nov
Doyle gets a mandate to improve education 8 Nov
Eunice Shriver spends election night with Schwarzenegger 8 Nov
Donna Shalala writes: Eliminating gender bias in universities 7 Nov
Robert Paul upheld peace amid Afghan war 6 Nov
Carol Bellamy receives humanitarian award 6 Nov
Joseph Opala studies Black Seminoles 6 Nov
David C. Liner named PC Chief of Staff 3 Nov
PCV Matthew Costa remembered 2 Nov
Ethiopian-American community rallied for Garamendi 2 Nov
Christopher Poulos named Teacher of the Year 1 Nov
Peace Corps Writers and the Lost Generation 1 Nov
James Rupert writes: A deadly attack in Pakistan 31 Oct
Hill meets secretly with North Korea to restart talks 31 Oct
Jimmy Carter remembers mother in Peace Corps 30 Oct
Leigh Emery travels world for science 27 Oct
IFAW breaks ground for new headquarters 25 Oct
RPCVs Podcast Around the Globe 23 Oct

Election 2006: Results of RPCV Races Date: November 8 2006 No: 1024 Election 2006: Results of RPCV Races
Chris Shays claims victory in closely watched race
Jim Walsh wins re-election to Congress in close race
Tom Petri unopposed for re-election to Congress
Sam Farr wins re-election to Congress
Mike Honda wins re-election to Congress
Jim Doyle wins re-election to Wisconsin Governorship
Kinky Friedman loses in long shot bid for Texas Governor
John Garamendi elected Lt. Governor of California

October 22, 2006: This Month's Top Stories Date: October 22 2006 No: 1005 October 22, 2006: This Month's Top Stories
The crisis over North Korea's nuclear bomb test 14 Oct
Hill faced strong opposition for denuclearization agreement 8 Oct
John Coyne writes: The first Peace Corps book 20 Oct
Thomas Tighe moderates discussion with President Clinton 17 Oct
PC announces Community College degree program 18 Oct
Donna Shalala expresses dismay over football brawl 16 Oct
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley defends Lebanon policy 16 Oct
Jan Guifarro elected Chair of NPCA Board 15 Oct
Carl Pope writes: From the pump to the polls 13 Oct
Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez Says Africa a Priority 12 Oct
Chris Dodd opposes Bush terrorism bill 10 Oct
Isaac Edvalson is founder of Africa's Tomorrow 9 Oct
The Man who turned down Shriver 8 Oct
Mae Jemison tells girls to reach for the stars 6 Oct
Loren Finnell receives Shriver Award 4 Oct
Matt Sesow paints onstage during opera 2 Oct
Film examines anti-malaria drug lariam 29 Sep
Blackwill dismisses Musharraf's claims 27 Sep
Ron Tschetter sworn in as 17th Peace Corps Director 26 Sep
Rape Victim Student Gets $1 Million From City College 26 Sep
Ricardo Chavira narrates Public Service Announcements 25 Sep

The Peace Corps Library Date: July 11 2006 No: 923 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory or leave a message on our Bulletin Board. New: Sign up to receive our free Monthly Magazine by email, research the History of the Peace Corps, or sign up for a daily news summary of Peace Corps stories. FAQ: Visit our FAQ for more information about PCOL.

Chris Dodd's Vision for the Peace Corps Date: September 23 2006 No: 996 Chris Dodd's Vision for the Peace Corps
Senator Chris Dodd (RPCV Dominican Republic) spoke at the ceremony for this year's Shriver Award and elaborated on issues he raised at Ron Tschetter's hearings. Dodd plans to introduce legislation that may include: setting aside a portion of Peace Corps' budget as seed money for demonstration projects and third goal activities (after adjusting the annual budget upward to accommodate the added expense), more volunteer input into Peace Corps operations, removing medical, healthcare and tax impediments that discourage older volunteers, providing more transparency in the medical screening and appeals process, a more comprehensive health safety net for recently-returned volunteers, and authorizing volunteers to accept, under certain circumstances, private donations to support their development projects. He plans to circulate draft legislation for review to members of the Peace Corps community and welcomes RPCV comments.

He served with honor Date: September 12 2006 No: 983 He served with honor
One year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on an ongoing dialog on this website on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just received a report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor.

Meet Ron Tschetter - Our Next Director Date: September 6 2006 No: 978 Meet Ron Tschetter - Our Next Director
Read our story about Ron Tschetter's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was carried on C-Span. It was very different from the Vasquez hearings in 2001, very cut and dried with low attendance by the public. Among the highlights, Tschetter intends to make recruitment of baby boomers a priority, there are 20 countries under consideration for future programs, Senator Dodd intends to re-introduce his third goal Peace Corps legislation this session, Tschetter is a great admirer of Senator Coleman's quest for accountability, Dodd thinks management at PC may not put volunteers first, Dodd wants Tschetter to look into problems in medical selection, and Tschetter is not a blogger and knows little about the internet or guidelines for volunteer blogs. Read our recap of the hearings as well as Senator Coleman's statement and Tschetter's statement.

Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance Date: August 19 2006 No: 964 Peace Corps' Screening and Medical Clearance
The purpose of Peace Corps' screening and medical clearance process is to ensure safe accommodation for applicants and minimize undue risk exposure for volunteers to allow PCVS to complete their service without compromising their entry health status. To further these goals, PCOL has obtained a copy of the Peace Corps Screening Guidelines Manual through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and has posted it in the "Peace Corps Library." Applicants and Medical Professionals (especially those who have already served as volunteers) are urged to review the guidelines and leave their comments and suggestions. Then read the story of one RPCV's journey through medical screening and his suggestions for changes to the process.

The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again Date: July 31 2006 No: 947 The Peace Corps is "fashionable" again
The LA Times says that "the Peace Corps is booming again and "It's hard to know exactly what's behind the resurgence." PCOL Comment: Since the founding of the Peace Corps 45 years ago, Americans have answered Kennedy's call: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." Over 182,000 have served. Another 200,000 have applied and been unable to serve because of lack of Congressional funding. The Peace Corps has never gone out of fashion. It's Congress that hasn't been keeping pace.

PCOL readership increases 100% Date: April 3 2006 No: 853 PCOL readership increases 100%
Monthly readership on "Peace Corps Online" has increased in the past twelve months to 350,000 visitors - over eleven thousand every day - a 100% increase since this time last year. Thanks again, RPCVs and Friends of the Peace Corps, for making PCOL your source of information for the Peace Corps community. And thanks for supporting the Peace Corps Library and History of the Peace Corps. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

History of the Peace Corps Date: March 18 2006 No: 834 History of the Peace Corps
PCOL is proud to announce that Phase One of the "History of the Peace Corps" is now available online. This installment includes over 5,000 pages of primary source documents from the archives of the Peace Corps including every issue of "Peace Corps News," "Peace Corps Times," "Peace Corps Volunteer," "Action Update," and every annual report of the Peace Corps to Congress since 1961. "Ask Not" is an ongoing project. Read how you can help.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: The Bennington Banner

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Lesotho; Secondary Education


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.