NO. R-182.  House concurrent resolution honoring Ernest Lafontaine on his retirement as principal of North Bennington Graded School.

(H.C.R.119)

Offered by:  Representatives Morrissey of Bennington, Corcoran of Bennington, Krawczyk, A. of Bennington and Krawczyk, J. of Bennington.

Whereas, elementary school principals serve a vital role in the primary education of our children by exercising leadership through the supervision of school curriculums, staff development, and perhaps most importantly, daily interaction with their students, and

Whereas, principals need to be understanding, caring, and dedicated professionals  who can meet challenges and changes with enthusiasm, humor, and an ability to stay ahead of emerging educational trends, and

Whereas, Ernest Lafontaine has devoted 34 years to the education profession as a teacher and administrator, and

Whereas, he was academically well‑qualified to work in the state’s public schools having earned both an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in elementary education, and he further enhanced his credentials by completing the requirements for an advanced certificate of study in administration, and

Whereas, his initial professional position was as a classroom teacher at the Catamount Elementary School where he taught for eight years, including experience as an open classroom teacher, and

Whereas, after eight successful years in the classroom, Ernest Lafontaine assumed a new role as principal of Bennington Elementary School where for the next 11 years he was a leader in elementary education in southwestern Vermont, and

Whereas, his outstanding performance as principal resulted in his appointment as assistant superintendent for the Bennington Southwest Supervisory Union, in which position he oversaw the Pownal, North Bennington, Woodford, and Shaftsbury school districts and their respective school boards, and

Whereas, while he excelled as an assistant superintendent, he missed the daily involvement with students and teachers that a principal experiences in an individual school, and

Whereas, his strong desire to return full‑time to a school environment led him to accept a position as principal at North Bennington Graded School, and

Whereas, among his many initiatives as a principal was the establishment of the “Buddies” program which pairs older and younger elementary school students and continues to this day, and

Whereas, Ernest Lafontaine empowered his staff to achieve their best by offering support and guidance to the faculty and staff which was intended to instill a spirit of family within the school community, and

Whereas, he has directed the educational development of the village’s youngsters for the past 11 years, and

Whereas, after 34 years in the educational field, Ernest Lafontaine will be retiring in June 2003 at the conclusion of the current academic year, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly congratulates Ernest Lafontaine, one of Vermont’s finest elementary school educators, on the occasion of his retirement as principal of North Bennington Graded School, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Ernest Lafontaine in Bennington.