Career Center Director Leaving in June

NEWPORT CITY – The North Country Union High School Board will be looking for a new director for the North Country Career Center.Richard Hoffman confirmed Monday that he handed in his resignation at last Tuesday’s Resources Committee meeting. Human Resources approved the request with regret. The full board will act on the resignation at tonight’s monthly meeting.Hoffman, who wants to pursue other opportunities, said he has nothing lined up. Hoffman has been an educator for 34 years and has an impressive background, which includes being the technical adviser for Armenia for the State of Kansas. Hoffman said his vision of technical education has somewhat changed over the past 34 years.“I believe we do a huge disservice to high school students if we say that technical training is enough,” said Hoffman, who stressed that doesn’t necessarily mean four years of additional education. “I want to affect true changes along those lines.”Hoffman stressed that the technical education provided by the North Country Career Center is second to none. “They do a wonderful job here,” he said. “It relates to the jobs in the area. It has good skill sets that engage students who might otherwise drop out of school and allow those students to graduate and become successful.”Hoffman is licensed as a superintendent in Kansas and has filled the paperwork to be one in Vermont. He would also consider working as a principal or helping a company educate its employees.“I’m looking for the next opportunity,” he said. “Most people in my position who have been around for 34 years or more have retired. I haven’t quite gotten there yet.” Hoffman would like to remain in the Northeast Kingdom and would not rule anything out for the right position. He said he resigned now, instead of waiting until he found something, to be fair to the school board who needs time to find his replacement. Hoffman’s resignation didn’t come as a surprise to Superintendent Robert Kern. Kern said the two have been talking for a few months. Kern also said that Hoffman will be missed.Board Chair Arne Amaliksen stressed the board didn’t initiate Hoffman’s resignation and, from his point of view, he had no complaints in regards to Hoffman. “He was qualified,” said Amaliksen, who said the next candidates may be a "better fit." “Apparently he’s not wanting to stay on because he submitted a resignation. You have to assume there is some desire on his part to separate. There are those who would have fought and battled if they thought there was a good fit.” The human resources committee has setup a committee to search for Hoffman’s replacement. Amaliksen will recommend the board chose Grant Spates to head up the committee. Hoffman’s last day will be June 30. Amaliksen expects the board will hire Hoffman’s replacement this summer. Even if that doesn’t happen, the school board still has Assistant Director Eileen Illuzzi.“We’re not real thin in that area as far as having somebody there to help in administration,” said Amaliksen. In June, Hoffman will have been at North Country for three years. He replaced Bob Fitts.