CVSD hires Indiana man as superintendent

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CVSD hires Indiana man as superintendent

Sun, 04/18/2021 - 8:53am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Champlain Valley School District announced Saturday that they have hired an educator from South Bend, Indiana, as their next superintendent. Rene Sanchez will take over from the retiring Elaine Pinckney. Pinckney has led what is now the state's largest school district for 15 years.

CVSD Board Message:

Hello, and happy weekend to you. 

You may have heard the rumbles of excitement as the news of our superintendent hire is coming out. Of course, we wanted to reach out to you directly with a more official announcement. 

As you know, the CVSD Board of Directors engaged in a robust search for our district’s first new superintendent in 15 years. We approached this critical task with the entire CVSD community in mind, recognizing that our choice would impact various groups differently. We honor the fact that a new leader reaches you – the dedicated and talented team of employees in CVSD – in a most immediate way. 

We are thrilled to announce that Rene Sanchez has accepted our offer to become the next superintendent of the Champlain Valley School District. Rene has a strong appreciation for Elaine‘s style of skilled and steady leadership and the way she has guided the district. He will bring a fresh perspective to our schools’ administrative, operational, and educational systems. 

Throughout the interview process, Rene shared his admiration for our focus on equity, SEL, and personalized learning. 

“I’m intrigued by board and district initiatives supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m excited about CVSD’s focus on personalized learning, proficiency-based learning, multi-tiered systems of support, and social-emotional learning. Knowing that we’re looking after every student and meeting them where they are is an educational philosophy that I share,” he said. 

“My strength is designing from the beginning so that we reach all students – even those in the margins. My style complements CVSD’s existing approach ensuring that students can successfully transition from elementary to middle school to high school and then on to college or career or whatever their pursuit of happiness is.”

Rene comes to the district from South Bend, Indiana, where he is the Assistant Superintendent for Operations. In this role, he directs the human resources and transportation departments for a district with more than 16,000 students and a total budget of over 173 million dollars. “Inspiring innovation and empowering our district’s potential was the goal in Indiana. My focus was providing training for new teachers in equity, literacy, and Universal Design for Learning,” he said.

Rene has a proven commitment to equity. One example is the creative solution he spearheaded to address the digital divide. Even before the pandemic, Rene led an effort to equip a group of school buses with Wi-Fi so that students facing long commutes or late-night rides following sports and other extracurricular activities could complete schoolwork during their trip. That set up the district to quickly respond to the connectivity challenges of remote learning during the past year. Buses (now over 200 in total!) became roving Wi-Fi providers, traveling to students in need to deliver both internet service and food. These communication hubs remain parked in designated neighborhoods throughout the school day. 

Before his tenure in South Bend, Rene was principal of Houston’s César E. Chávez High School. To expand educational and career opportunities for students, the school partnered with community organizations and local businesses, including the Houston Ballet, NASA, the Texas Medical Center, and Hobby International Airport. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recognized Rene’s work to close the academic gap with affluent schools in the region. Chávez became the only high school to earn Houston Independent School District’s highest Award for Family and Community Engagement for four consecutive years.

Rene earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, his law degree at Ohio State, and his Masters of Educational Administration at the University of Texas. He is currently pursuing his doctorate at Indiana State University, with an expected completion date in 2023.

On a personal note, Rene’s wife, Jean, is originally from Vermont and a UVM graduate. They have three children and three dogs. Rene loves to cycle, cook, read, fish, golf, and work in the garden. “We’re happy that our children are going to grow up in Jean’s home state. We are thrilled to be closer to family and many of Jean’s college friends, who still live in the area.” 

Please join us in welcoming Rene and his family to our district. In the coming months as we create opportunities to meet and speak with Rene, the board will keep our CVSD community informed. 

With gratitude, 

Angela Arsenault, Chair 

Kelly Bowen, Vice-Chair

Josilyn Adams

Erin Brady

Russ Caffry

Lynne Jaunich

Colleen MacKinnon

Barbra Marden

Brendan McMahon

Meghan Metzler

Keith Roberts

Ken Scott