WSESD Board, Finance, IBRC Meeting Minutes

● The board conducted a public information session about the proposed FY25 budget that will be presented for a vote at the Annual Meeting on 3/19/24.
● The Board voted to hire Patrice Michelle Herman, Science teacher at BUHS
● Three Executive Sessions were added to the end of the meeting.
● Voted to readopt policy G8- Continuous Improvement Plan

Cultural Revival

I was recently reminded of how much most Americans are missing from their lives because of the loss of connection to our cultural roots. My wife and I attended a presentation of the history of Mocko Jumbies on St Croix in the Virgin Islands and we realized some of the cultural richness that we are missing.

Many of the Caribbean islands are steeped in cultural traditions that was brought from Africa and continue to be a part of their lives. Mocko Jumbies are stilt walkers who dress up in colorful traditional African costumes and dance and sway to the infectious beat of African and Caribbean rhythms.

Brattleboro Area Middle School Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – Mar 7, 2024

Matt Betz and Peggy shared about the advisory system. They use Developmental Designs. A majority of the staff are formally trained in this framework. Every day starts with advisory – a small group of 10-12 students. It’s like a family during their two years at BAMS. There is a lot of social bonding that takes place among the team. They have daily connection building activities like sharing circles and games. There are team meetings once a week and regular assemblies to celebrate successes and address concerns.

WSESD Recount Results

Official recounts are in, for the two three-year terms for Brattleboro representatives on the WSESD Board of Directors. Town Clerks of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney, submitted their recount results to the WSESD Clerk at the Superintendent of Schools Office, and the end result didn’t change the outcome of the vote.

The numbers have increased by a few votes for each of the three candidates, but the two winners of this election remain Timothy “Tim” Maciel and Colleen Savage. 

Windham Southeast School District Annual District Meeting March 19, 2024

The Windham Southeast School District (“WSESD”) will hold its Annual District Meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., in the gymnasium at Brattleboro Union High School (BUHS). BUHS is located at 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro, Vermont. Residents of the WSESD member towns of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney are encouraged to attend in person.

Childcare will be provided for the Annual Meeting, as one way to support the highest number of residents/voters to attend the meeting. To secure childcare with WSESD staff members, call 802-254-3730 by noon on March 19th, so we’ll know to have sufficient childcare staff available.

Warned items for the meeting include 5 Articles, such as the election of District Officers, what to pay members of the School Board, and a vote on the FY 2025 WSESD budget. See attached Warning. Your opinion matters, but you can only vote if you are present on the floor of the Annual District Meeting.

Ordinary Elephant and Early Risers at Next Stage

Next Stage Arts and Twilight Music present an evening of acoustic folk music from far and near by Louisiana-based Ordinary Elephant and Putney-based Early Risers at Next Stage on Friday, April 12 at 7:30 pm.

Mesmerizing folk duo Ordinary Elephant has spent the better part of the last decade on a never-ending tour that’s earned Crystal and Pete Damore widespread critical acclaim and made fans of luminaries like Tom Paxton and Mary Gauthier. In 2017, the couple took home the International Folk Music Award for Artist of the Year on the strength of their breakout album “Before I Go,” and two years later, they returned with the similarly lauded “Honest,” which the Associated Press hailed as “one of the best Americana albums of the year.”

Brattleboro, Dummerston, Putney and Guilford School Director Recount Likely

After a very close race for the two 3-year Brattleboro School Director seats, a re-count will likely be initiated for votes cast in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Putney and Guilford for those two seats.  

The three candidates, and the number of votes each candidate received from the four member towns of the Windham Southeast School District are as follows: Timothy “Tim” Maciel – 1,677 votes; Colleen Savage – 1661 votes; Rich Leavy – 1659 votes. 

Violinist Johnny Gandelsman Presents “This Is America: Part III” at Next Stage Arts

Next Stage Arts presents violinist and former member of Silkroad Ensemble Johnny Gandelsman, performing works written in response to the turbulent and disconnected time of the early pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. The anthology of compositions will be performed at Next Stage as part of Gandelsman’s year-long residency at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth on Wednesday, April 3 at 7:00 pm. Part II of the series was performed at Next Stage in February, to a deeply appreciative audience.

“We are thrilled to host Johnny Gandelsman at Next Stage Arts for an extraordinary evening of music that transcends boundaries. Johnny’s upcoming show, a co-presentation with Dartmouth Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, is not just a performance; it’s a journey into the heart of his latest project, ‘This is America.’” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “With roots in the groundbreaking Silk Road Ensemble and as a founding member of Brooklyn Rider, Johnny brings a wealth of cultural influences to the stage. His ability to seamlessly blend genres is a testament to his artistry. Join us for an unforgettable night as we explore the musical landscapes he has crafted through his collaborations and solo endeavors.”

Rob Flax’s Boom Chick Trio to Perform at Next Stage on 4/6

Next Stage Arts presents eclectic jazz combo Boom Chic Trio on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 pm. Equal parts hot swing, snarky songwriting, and lyrical storytelling, this energetic trio of virtuoso violin, guitar, and bass plus three part harmony vocals will transport you to a speakeasy somewhere in the back of a bar. You might not be able to sit still in your seat, and you’ll have a smile on your face most of the show!

“BOOM CHICK! What a name to express the hot jazz trio that are masters of their craft,” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “We’re excited to introduce these musicians to our community because they cross some interesting lines between traditional sounds while making it feel exciting and new.”

Windham Southeast School District Board Special Meeting Minutes – Feb 28, 2024

Bethany Ranquist of Brattleboro commented that she found some of the comments made by board members and board candidates that were quoted in the press regarding empathy for or resilience of survivors of abuse to be disrespectful, considering the board’s silence regarding what was reported in the sexual abuse investigation. She asked that board members be more thoughtful about this and not share their thoughts about survivors if they are not going to make any further comment on the investigation. KY added that she understood this comment to be in relation to answers that board members gave to questions at the recent Candidate Forum where they were directly asked about their perspectives.

A former BAMS parent whose daughter experienced sexual assault by another student spoke about being dissatisfied with the school’s response and wanting to pursue further action. KY asked him to notify the Superintendent of this request by email and to copy herself and DS so they can initiate this process.

BUHS student Iris Mayer spoke about the same student and other peers having harmful experiences of sexual harassment and assault by other students during their time at BAMS and how they did not feel served by the school’s response to these incidents. She expressed concern about attention to students’ mental health and well-being.

BUHS student Rei Ranquist pointed out that some students have reported harm to counselors, as directed, and could not perceive that their concerns were addressed. They expressed concern that students do not feel confident that they can get help by going to their counselor.

Dummerston School Leadership Council Meeting Agenda

The Dummerston School Leadership Council will meet at 5:00pm on Thursday, March 14, 2024 at Dummerston School. DLC will meet each month in person in the 4th grade classroom, and via Google Hangouts (unless there is an unforeseen interference). Future meetings-2024: Apr. 11, May 16, Jun. 13.

Next Stage Arts Presents Cuban Quintet Espirales Project

Next Stage Arts presents Cuban quintet Espirales Project on Friday, March 29th at 7:30 pm, at Next Stage Arts, located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT. Tickets are $20 in advance / $25 at the door / $10 livestream. Next Stage will provide a beer, wine, and cocktail cash bar. Advance tickets are available at For information, call 802-387-0102 or visit

Newly emerging on the Cuban music scene in 2023, the Espirales Project brings together five top graduates of Cuba’s Instituto Superior de Arte performing across several genres—Cuban, jazz, world, and chamber music. Tania Haase, Olivia Rodríguez, Alejandro Aguiar, Jesús Estrada and Rodrigo García have led or contributed nationally and internationally to projects across all these styles, performing at Cuba’s International Jazz Plaza Festival and the Habana Clásica concert music festival. They are also teachers who have designed a development program on Cuban music and culture.