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Plainfield Elementary School woos principal away from Claremont Middle

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2021 12:25:35 AM
Modified: 5/22/2021 12:25:32 AM

PLAINFIELD — The list of jobs that could have lured Audra Bucklin away from her position as assistant principal at Claremont Middle School was a short one.

But one of those jobs was the principalship of Plainfield Elementary School. The appeal of leading the school in her adopted hometown, and where she served on the School Board, was too strong to pass up.

“I think that the No. 1 thing is the community,” Bucklin said in a phone interview, adding that “it’s exciting to think of doing what I love professionally, where I love to be.”

Bucklin will bring to her new role, which she assumes on July 1, an uncommon perspective on the school she’ll lead. Both of her children, who are now in their 20s, went to the K-8 school, and she served two three-year terms, and later part of another term on the School Board.

“I think one of the benefits will be that Audra comes with such varied experience,” Beth Houde, chair of the Plainfield School Board, said in a recent interview.

Bucklin, who grew up in North Attleboro, Mass., earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. She started her career working in child and family welfare, and when she had small children she ran a day care out of her home. She went back to school and earned a master’s in education from Plymouth State in 2012, and she completed the principal internship program at the Upper Valley Educators Institute in 2017.

In the meantime, she worked at a variety of schools, directing summer programs at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, and as a school counselor at Hartford High School before starting work in Claremont in 2017.

Stable, capable leadership is an essential component of a high-functioning school, but turnover often leaves schools struggling to maintain a course. Both Houde and Bucklin said they hope Bucklin’s tenure is a long one.

“I sure hope so,” Bucklin said. The length of her tenure will depend on the needs of the community and its school, but also on the approach to problem-solving.

“We often want and need things to be addressed, and we are a society and a world in search of a quick fix,” she said. Schools call for a different kind of relationship.

Leaving Claremont Middle School is “bittersweet,” she said. “It’s a community I’ve also fallen in love with,” she added, citing both the people she’s met and worked with and the initiatives the school is putting into place.

Bucklin will replace Sondra Brake, who served as principal in Plainfield for three years.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3207.




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