Challenging times are when we need great leadership and leaders who can bring us together and help us chart new paths for the future. We find ourselves at this moment in time questioning many of our basic assumptions about life and direction and what is most important to each and every one of us.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in Vermonters and our local communities. We are all working together and looking out for each other on every level, as we always have. Because of this, Vermont is the safest state in the nation from COVID-19 contagion. Our lives and some of our basic assumptions are forever changed.

The brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of police has finally caused us to reach a long, long overdue tipping point in our society. I am hopeful that a new era of understanding, kindness, respect and love will power the work we need to do to truly survive in our world. We are all in this together.


We have gained new understandings and knowledge; we can’t make the same decisions we have made in the past. We need to work together to create the best future we can for our children (they are the future) and ourselves. Education and how it is delivered is going to change dramatically in the next few years. Our basic assumptions will be challenged. How we deliver education will change.

The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) has not been unified of late. Two towns, Warren and Fayston, in the district have passed votes of no confidence in the leadership. One additional town, Moretown, is pursuing withdrawing from the union school district all together and the select board passed a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Brigid Nease at its last meeting. The school board itself is sharply divided with narrow majority votes on what the direction of the district should be.

Many residents don’t feel their opinions have either been heard or given any credence. There is a general sense that there is an agenda that is being pursued by the superintendent and the administration with a narrow majority of the board. Decisions often seem like they are made to meet a false sense of urgency because of arbitrary timelines. This does not engender trust. We should not expect that things will change much if we don’t change our leadership. Historical behavior predicts future behavior. “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein.

This is the time we should all take to, thoughtfully and respectfully with kindness and compassion for each other, build a solid consensus of yes, for what we want our Harwood Union Unified School District to provide for our children’s education and help them to live up to their own potentials, be happy and compete with students from anywhere in the world in this globally connected era.

The superintendent’s contract is good through June 30, 2021, and the board has until September 1, 2020, to notify the superintendent if it wants to extend the contract. There has been division and acrimony over the last 10 years. We all need to heal and be the best neighbors we know we can be. It is time for a change of leadership. Rushing to extend the superintendent’s contract will not help to increase trust or bring the communities back toward a unified union.

Bennett lives in Waitsfield, Vermont.