CVSD Superintendent Pinckney announces retirement

After 20 years with the Champlain Valley School District, the past 15 as superintendent, Elaine Pinckney plans to retire next June.

She informed the Champlain Valley School Board during a closed door session July 21. The board plans to immediately begin a search process for her successor.

“I am very grateful for having had the privilege to serve such a forward-thinking organization, one in which lifelong learning and a focus on personal and institutional growth are at the core,” she wrote in a letter to the board. “I was drawn to this vision from the start and continue to be inspired by it to this day.” 

Pinckney has led the largest school district in the state, previously known as Chittenden South Supervisory Union, through significant change during her tenure. Prior to consolidation in 2017, she brought cohesion to the 4,000-student district by developing a joint mission statement, creating systems among the four K-8 schools that all fed into the same high school and created a monthly unified meeting for the six individual school boards.

“I have been enormously blessed to work with passionate, dedicated board members, outstanding administrators, and a top-notch faculty and staff,” she wrote.

Pinckney guided the district through the financial challenges of Acts 60 and 68 and the 2008 recession and was named the Vermont Superintendent of the Year in 2013.

“We have been incredibly blessed to have had Elaine as our district leader for 15 years,” said board chair Lynne Jaunich. “Her collaborative leadership style, systems thinking, strong communication skills and focus on what is best for each student has transformed education in CVSD. Her impact on our district can’t be overstated.”

Pinckney is planning for a challenging final year, as the district attempts to balance the public health concerns of the coronavirus pandemic with the educational needs of students.

“(This year) will not be without its challenges,” she wrote, “but if past history is any indicator, we will figure it out together and work collaboratively to ensure the best possible outcome.”

Pinckney was previously Vermont’s deputy commissioner of education and a principal in Williston and Stowe.