November 20, 2018

Williston driver pleads not guilty to criminal charges in Craig Sampson’s death

by Jess Wisloski
Observer staff

Williston resident Joseph Castano, 20, entered a plea of not guilty to a number of criminal charges during his arraignment in a Massachusetts courthouse Tuesday that were related to a deadly car crash over the weekend in which he was the driver.

Craig Sampson, 19, also of Williston, died in the Saturday morning crash in Beverly, Mass., and Castano was hospitalized with injuries. Both men were college sophomores, and had grown up together in town. Those who knew them said they were best friends.

Castano posted $25,000 bail at Salem District Court and was permitted to return to Vermont. He is set to return to court June 7.

Joseph Castano's yearbook photo. (Facebook)

Joseph Castano’s yearbook photo. (Facebook)

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CVU house director Adam Bunting accepts Montpelier principal job

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Adam Bunting.

Adam Bunting saved the best for last.

The Snelling House Director at Champlain Valley Union High School will depart CVU after the current school year to become the new principal of Montpelier High School.

But before bidding the Redhawks adieu, Bunting will deliver the commencement address at CVU graduation on June 15 as his last official act of business with the school to which he devoted 17 years of his life.

“This is maybe the highlight of my career—the students asked me to be the commencement speaker for graduation this year,” Bunting said. “I am absolutely thrilled that the students asked me to do that. That’s just a real honor.”

A Shelburne native, Bunting graduated from CVU in 1994. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Connecticut College, he returned to CVU in 1998 as a substitute teacher and assistant lacrosse coach before teaching English full-time in Fairbanks House for three years. Following another hiatus, during which he studied school leadership at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Bunting again returned to CVU, where he spent the past nine years as the director of Snelling House.

Bunting said he has mixed emotions about leaving CVU.

“It’s wonderful and it’s also hard. It’s one of those bittersweet times,” he said. “What I realized—and sometimes you only realize these things in retrospect—was that I’ve been talking with my students for years and years about the importance of personal growth, and I think as teachers sometimes we forget to take that lens and look at our own lives with it. There was something internally that was calling me to change things up.”

CVU Principal Sean McMannon said Bunting will be missed.

“Professionally, he’s been one of the most insightful and passionate leaders I’ve ever come in contact with,” McMannon said. “He has what I would call a gentle courage. He has a way where he can really get to the heart of matters.”

The current enrollment at Montpelier High School is about 340—roughly the same size as Snelling House. Bunting will replace current MHS principal Peter Evans, who will retire at the end of the school year.

“Within 15 minutes of talking to Adam, I just knew he was the perfect person (for the job),” Evans said of his successor. “I think the community will really benefit from his manner and genuineness.”

Bunting, 36, lives in Williston with his wife and two children. Despite the 29-minute commute to MHS, he said his family has no imminent plans to relocate.

“We really love Williston. No, we’re not going to move, at this point,” Bunting said. “We located in Williston on purpose.”

Bunting, who said the relationships he forged with students and the school administration will be what he will miss most about CVU, had some parting advice for his replacement.

“The most important part of the function of this job is really keeping an eye on, and building relationships with, the 350 students who are in Snelling House in ninth to 12th grades,” he said.

McMannon said eight candidates have interviewed for the house director job. He hopes to have the position filled by the end of the month.