BY JASON STARR
Rene Sanchez is settling into his new office in Shelburne, meeting people in the five towns that make up the Champlain Valley School District and talking with fellow school district administrators.
It is his first full week as the school district’s superintendent.
Sanchez was hired to succeed Elaine Pinckney after a national search. He moved from South Bend, Ind., where he was an assistant school superintendent. He previously worked as a high school principal in his home state of Texas.
Sanchez, along with his wife — a native of Vermont and UVM graduate — and their three children, signed a contract last week on a home in Williston after searching in a tight Champlain Valley home-buying market. He attended the Williston Fourth of July parade Saturday for a first interaction with residents. He then went to the Hinesburg Fourth parade Sunday, and plans meet-and-greets in Charlotte and at the Shelburne Farmers’ Market later this week.
“Everyone I’ve met has been very welcoming, and I can really tell that my family and I are going to fit in very well here,” Sanchez said. “The cordialness, the way people treat one another, it feels very welcoming and I’m extremely happy to be here.”
He has already been out for bike rides, golf outings and mountain drives.
“This place is stunning,” he said. “I’m anxious to get lost in all of Vermont.”
Also this month, Sanchez plans introductory meetings with town selectboards, reading up on Vermont Agency of Education materials, attending a planning retreat with the Champlain Valley School Board and meeting with the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association.
Additional introductions are planned in late August when families are invited into school buildings before the first week of school.
“My job is to get a true understanding of where we’ve been, then work with the board and the community to determine where it is that we need to go next,” said Sanchez, who will also be a parent in the district with kids in the schools. “I’m eager to listen and make sure we have the district that is going to help our community and help our state further its excellence.”