GEORGIA – When summer comes to an end and students return to the halls of the Georgia Elementary and Middle School (GEMS), they’ll be seeing a new face in the halls of the Georgia school as the district will be welcoming Julie Conrad as GEMS’s new middle school principal.

“I used to live in the Milton area and I just really love the community in Georgia,” Conrad said. “I’m really looking forward to get to know the community more and building upon the strengths Georgia has already.”

Conrad, currently the district mathematics coordinator at the Mount Abraham Unified School District in Bristol, comes to Georgia as a first-time principal, but her resume touches on everything from the classroom to Montpelier.

She spent a year as a paraprofessional in the Bristol and Shelburne schools, taught at the Colchester High School “during a time when the high school was undergoing a large renewal process,” and consulted through the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative’s “Teaching All Secondary Students” program and through the Agency of Education.

Just before signing on to Mount Abraham as their mathematics coordinator, Conrad also worked as a project manager in the University of Vermont (UVM)’s Vermont Mathematics Initiative.

While she said she acknowledges “there’s definitely going to be some challenges” in her first year as a principal, she said she was excited to build off of the district’s established innovation spaces use and “continue to robustly support the integration of technology in education.”

“I’m really interested in building off the ideas I have seen in Georgia,” Conrad said. “Georgia is already doing great work [like what] they’re doing in their innovation lab, but how do we use technology to create learning and how do we help kids use technology to expand off of what they’re learning in the classroom?”

Georgia’s elementary school principal, Steve Emery, said he was excited to work with Conrad in the coming year.  “I am looking forward to what the future of working together will bring to our school and Georgia learning community,” Emery said in an emailed statement. “Julie has voiced a vision of student-centered learning opportunities and decision making that would be established through a collaborative leadership approach.”

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the community more and building upon the strengths Georgia has already,” Conrad told the Messenger. (Courtesy Photo)

Emery also shared a few parting words for the current middle school principal Frank Calano, who’ll be retiring at the end of this school year after serving as principal for nearly four decades.

“Retiring Principal Frank Calano, will be greatly missed,” Emery said. “His 39 years of leadership has been dedicated to serving students, staff, and the Georgia community.”

Conrad’s hiring, coming after an extensive hiring process and public testimony from residents and educators in Georgia, is effective July 1.

Conrad has a bachelors of science in education from UVM and a masters in education from the Upper Valley Graduate School of Education.

“I’m just really excited,” she said.

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