April 9, 2007
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
NEW HAVEN — A school with 450 students in grades K-8 may not be that big a school by some standards, but it has been too big for Steve Flint. The former Addison Central School teacher took up the position as assistant principal of Manchester Elementary/Middle School in southern Vermont last fall but he has found that he misses the ability to get to know the students and faculty that comes with a smaller school.
“There’s a feel that comes with a small school that’s really important to me,” Flint said.
So when he heard that Beeman Elementary School in New Haven was looking for a principal, he jumped at the chance. Flint, 33, will take over for Carol Barnes, who in January announced her retirement at the end of the school year. The Beeman Elementary School board chose Flint for the job on March 29.
“He really liked the school,” said board member Lowell Nottingham. “He took his name out of the running for another principalship he was going for at the same time because he felt that New Haven was a good fit.”
Flint, a Shoreham resident, has been assistant principal of Manchester Elementary/Middle School for a year. Before that, he spent seven years teaching at Addison Central School, so he says he will bring a teacher’s perspective to the job. “Every day, I want to make sure we’re maximizing each child’s learning,” he said.
Flint said that he and his wife, Melissa, had briefly considered moving to the Manchester area to be closer to his job, but they were glad that he found something more local. “We love the quality of life in Addison County, and we didn’t want to leave it,” he said.
Flint said he was attracted to Beeman Elementary for three reasons. He has heard good things about the school’s staff. They are “a proven commodity in the region,” always willing to learn, he said.
Flint was also impressed by the community support enjoyed by the school, citing examples such as a community effort to raise money for new playground equipment and installing it with volunteer labor.
And, of course, he is also looking forward to working at a smaller school. Flint said that he has tried to get to know all 450 students at Manchester, but that hasn’t always been possible because of the sheer numbers. He thinks it will be easier at a school the size of Beeman, with only about 140 students. “When I left the classroom I made a commitment that I wasn’t going to lose touch with the students,” he said.
Nottingham said that he is optimistic about their choice of candidates. There had been 24 applicants for the position, and Flint was one of four finalists. “The candidates that we had were all extremely qualified. It was just a matter of finding the one that was the best fit for Beeman,” Nottingham said.
He said that Flint’s experience will be valuable in a number of ways. New Haven is transitioning to a new math curriculum, for example, and Flint happens to have worked with that program himself. “I’m pretty confident that we got the right guy,” Nottingham said. “Everyone’s excited.”