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Rene Sanchez named CVSD superintendent

New hire comes to Vermont from Indiana 

OBSERVER STAFF REPORT 

The Champlain Valley School District Board of Directors announced Sunday the hiring of Rene Sanchez as the district’s next superintendent. 

Sanchez is currently assistant superintendent for operations at a 16,000-student school district in South Bend, Ind. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a law degree from Ohio State and a master’s of educational administration from the University of Texas. He is also currently pursuing a doctorate at Indiana State University. 

“As a lifelong learner, I‘m excited to become the educational leader for Vermont’s largest district and to work with families and communities and businesses to make sure we’re in a place where we can help all students achieve,” Sanchez said in a press release after accepting the position. 

He will start July 1, succeeding retiring superintendent Elaine Pinckney. 

Sanchez has a connection to Vermont through his wife, Jean, a Vermont native and graduate of UVM. They have three children. 

“We’re happy that our children are going to grow up in Jean’s home state,” said Sanchez, who, in his personal time, enjoys cycling, cooking, reading, fishing, golfing and gardening. “We are thrilled to be closer to family and many of Jean’s college friends, who still live in the area.” 

Before his tenure in South Bend, Sanchez was principal of Houston’s César E. Chávez High School. 

“This is an amazing time for our district,” school board chair Angela Arsenault said. “We’ve been expertly led by Superintendent Elaine Pinckney for the past 15 years, and we’re poised to benefit from both the deep respect Mr. Sanchez has expressed for CVSD, as well as the fresh perspective he’ll bring to our schools and systems.” 

Sanchez said he was drawn to the Champlain Valley School District because of its support of diversity, equity and inclusion and its commitment to personalized learning. 

“Knowing that we’re looking after every student and meeting them where they are is an educational philosophy that I share,” he said. “I welcome the opportunity to help the five towns grow together post-consolidation and become a stronger unified district. 

“My strength is designing from the beginning so that we reach all students — even those in the margins,” he continued. “My style complements CVSD’s existing approach ensuring that all 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.” 

In his current role in Indiana, Sanchez directs the human resources and transportation departments for a district with an annual budget of over $173 million. He spearheaded an initiative to address the digital divide by equipping a group of school buses with Wi-Fi for students facing long commutes or late-night rides following sports and other extracurricular activities so they could do schoolwork during their trip. 

This positioned the district to quickly respond to the connectivity challenges of remote learning during the past year. All district buses (235 total) became roving Wi-Fi providers this year, traveling to students in need to deliver both internet service and food. These communication hubs remain parked in designated neighborhoods throughout the school day. 

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