Newton School principal in Strafford to step down next month

  • Newton School principal Greg Bagnato gets a hand in leading a school assembly at the trailhead from kindergartner Leif Hanchett in Strafford, Vt., on Oct. 10, 2014. The school's 120 students did the annual hike up Kibling Hill, which had a theme of hunger awareness. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Valley News File Photo — Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/30/2019 1:13:37 PM
Modified: 5/30/2019 9:58:55 PM

STRAFFORD — After six years as principal of The Newton School, Greg Bagnato announced his resignation in a letter that went out to members of the school community on Wednesday evening.

Highlighting the school’s achievements during his tenure, which include the implementation of full-day kindergarten and increased outdoor and place-based learning opportunities, the letter also alluded to ongoing difficulties at the K-8 school.

“While I have been proud of much of what we have accomplished as a community, our school continues to face challenges which are difficult to solve,” Bagnato, who grew up in Norwich and lives with his family in Strafford, wrote in the letter. “I have decided that it is time to move forward to a new position with new opportunities.”

Strafford School Board chairwoman Sarah Root said the School Board was aware that Bagnato planned to resign but that he hasn’t officially delivered his resignation to the panel.

She also declined to say where he plans to go.

“Six years is above the average of a principal staying in a school in the United States,” she said. “I appreciate that. I believe he put his whole heart and soul into the school.”

Bagnato’s resignation, effective the end of the school year, presents a new challenge to the school community, which is already grappling with the departure of nine students during the past year, as well as complaints from Strafford families about the learning environment in the school.

In January, the board hired an independent consultant to determine the causes of discontent with the school, which serves about 80 students. A task force is currently meeting weekly to study the options for the school’s dwindling seventh and eighth grades.

Root said the board likely will hire an interim principal, “while we do some of the work that we have to do as a community.”

Sarah Earle can be reached at or 603-727-3268.

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