By MADELINE HUGHES
Last week Champlain Valley Union High School Principal Adam Bunting visited Washington D.C. as a perk that came with being honored as the Vermont Principal of the Year.
Bunting quietly accepted the award in August at the Vermont Principals Association meeting, where he was recognized for his work in personalized and proficiency-based learning.
Upon returning from the trip, where he joined principals from other states, Bunting reflected on how lucky he was to be able to connect with Vermont’s Congressional delegation, whose members are adamant supporters of education.
“Their support for education is nothing less than inspirational for a school district,” he said. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., met with Bunting for more than 30 minutes to discuss education issues. Principals from other states were often not as successful with meeting with their delegation, he said.
“It was a real pleasure to learn and talk to principals around the U.S. and Puerto Rico,” Bunting said. He was able to gain perspective, and count himself lucky for being a principal at CVU. “Vermont is focused on interventions and supports for students, where other people are asking legislators to arm teachers and have more reactive measures.”
A 1994 CVU graduate, Bunting returned to the school as the principal in 2015. In recent years he has worked to expand independent study programs and he is one of the main administrators behind the district’s decision to hire a school resource officer. The district is currently negotiating with the Shelburne Police Department to staff the position.
Visiting D.C. was a homecoming of sorts for Bunting, he said. He grew up in Northwest D.C. until he moved to Shelburne at age 9, when he began attending Shelburne Community School.
Bunting said he is excited to bring what he learned back to CVU.
The University of Vermont presents the Outstanding Educator awards annually. On Monday at a reception on campus, two teachers from each supervisory union in the state were recognized. The Champlain Valley School District honorees were:
• Sarah Malcolm, a high school science teacher who has worked at CVU for 14 years. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized by my colleagues,” she said. “My identity comes out in the classroom more than anywhere else.”
• Sarah Pierson, a French and Spanish teacher at Charlotte Central School, who has taught there for 26 years. “I still really enjoy teaching all these years later,” she said. “It’s an honor to be awarded for something I like to do.”
The Vermont Teacher of Year honor went to Winooski High School math teacher Thomas Payeur.