Vermont Superintendents Association

    Vermont Principals’ Association

    2 Prospect Street

    Montpelier, Vermont 05602




    To:      Members of the Vermont Superintendents Association

                Members of the Vermont Principals’ Association


    From:  Jeffrey Francis, Executive Director, Vermont Superintendents Association

                Ken Page, Executive Director, Vermont Principals’ Association


    Re:       Reminder of Principal Mentoring Requirement for New Principals and Technical Education Center Directors


    Date: June 1, 2015


    Act 20 of 2011 is now almost four years old, and the rate of principal turnover seems to be declining. Rather than 80-100 openings, which we saw then, we now see closer to 50 principal openings. So, thank you for helping to support our building leaders.


    Since this is a critical time when new leaders are being hired and plans are being made for the next year, we want to encourage you to put plans in place early to insure a good start for your new leader. To note:


    • The Vermont Principals’ Association will again be offering training for Mentors this summer in Montpelier on August 12-13-14. Contact Ken Page at 1-802-229-0547 to learn more about this. http://www.naesp.org/mentor
    • The choice of the mentor is ultimately yours, but we encourage you to pay attention to the match; to that end VPA Mentor coordinators will send you resumes of mentors in your region and will discuss with you your particular needs
    • Remember, mentor is not coaching. See Mentor Competencies: http://bit.ly/1QfPnAp


    • General rule: Supervisors who evaluate performance should not also serve as the principal’s mentor
    • VPA really wants to know if mentoring makes a difference, so please let the VPA know who is mentoring your new leader: kpage@vpaonline.org


    In August of 2014, Secretary Holcombe issued a reminder memorandum to superintendents of Act 20, in which she wrote:

    Providing access to high-quality mentoring for your new principals is not just good practice; it is the law.

    Under Act 20 of 2011, when a new principal or technical center director is hired, who has not previously served in such capacity, the superintendent must work to ensure that the new principal or technical center director receives mentoring supports during at least the first two years of employment. To read the Act in its entirety, please click here:


    These mentoring supports must be provided in consultation with the Vermont Principals’ Association, who at present has 50 trained mentors available. These mentors have been trained to provide supports that are consistent with best practices and research-based approaches that were identified jointly by the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) and the Vermont Superintendents Association (VSA).

    Of course, superintendents have reasonable latitude in determining, with the principal or technical center director, the best options for mentoring support. However, we expect that the supports are consistent with the law’s requirements for a successful mentoring model based on research and best practice.

    It is the responsibility of the superintendent to assure that the district is in compliance with this law. In doing so, the superintendent should:

    Engage the services of a trained mentor who has completed the appropriate training and/or has received appropriate national certification. Please inform the Vermont Principals’ Association that mentoring services have been arranged via emailing Ken Page at kpage@vpaonline.org or,

    Engage the services of a school administrator with extensive experience who can serve as a mentor and has demonstrated effectiveness in the six “School Leadership Mentor Competencies.” (See final page for a summary of these competencies.)

    If this second option is the one that you are employing, you should first contact Ken Page (kpage@vpaonline.org) at the Vermont Principals’ Association or Jeff Francis (jfrancis@vtvsa.org) at the Vermont Superintendents Association.

    In either case, we appreciate your help in confirming that your new principals have a mentor.

    A few supervisory unions have highly developed systems for mentoring which meet the guidelines described above. For other systems, one advantage of working with VSA and VPA is that external mentors provide a safe, low-stakes mentoring relationship, outside the supervisory union and perceived lines of accountability, so that new principals can try out ideas and openly discuss challenges without fear of repercussions.

    Thank you all for the tremendous and challenging work you do to lead systems and keep our educators focused on the most important work of all: improving teaching and learning.

    If you have any questions about the program, the mentoring requirement, or anything pertaining to Act 20, please don’t hesitate to contact one of us.


    Regards, and respect for the work you do.




    Jeffrey D. Francis                                                                               Kenneth J. Page

    VSA                                                                                                    VPA

Last Modified on August 13, 2015