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Hakuna matata, nenda salama

January 11, 2021 Comments Off on Hakuna matata, nenda salama

“Mazungu, mazungu sasa hoja.. SASA HOGA,” the man yelled.  I could not remember hoja in Swahili, but sasa meant now.  As the busload teemed toward me, I followed suit.  From the back of the rickety school bus, I leaped out the emergency exit onto the savannah.  Five guards, all under the age of 18, with camouflage fatigues, AK-47s and uzis, pointed at the sixty-five Africans and three Americans as we lined up and emptied our packs and suitcases on the parched grass. They looked through our belongings to be sure we had no weapons.  Then, hakuna matata, nenda salama (no problem, go in peace). Boarding the bus we rode through potholed dirt tarmac roads, past burnt out tanks, (wildlife, plains, acacia trees, mountains and beautiful people) bombed buildings, and eventually reached our destination.  My position in rural Uganda at Ibuga Refugee Settlement was working with women to develop economic schemes to sell crafts.  As a cynical, rebellious youth, I did not like our country, shunned government, politicians, business and anything that represented authority.  I considered myself liberetarian. I was in Africa to do good in the world, and escape America.   What I realized from this time is that I…

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It is a considerable honor to serve as the Superintendent of Schools for the Kingdom East School District.

The citizens of Burke, Concord, Lyndon, Lunenburg, Newark, Sheffield, Sutton and Wheelock care deeply about public education and our preK-12 students. This support is essential in continuing the strength of our school programs. As we launch this school year in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic we anticipate both opportunities and challenges. I am confident that our professional faculty and staff can work together with our families to provide a quality educational experience. Our vibrant landscape, outdoor opportunities and small towns support our schools as we maintain community values and also serve the educational hopes and dreams for all our children.  We can leverage these strengths during the pandemic to explore unique learning opportunities and support each other.

Our schools prepare young people to excel and thrive in college, careers and life. We have robust preK-8 schools and choices for high school.

During a unique and unprecedented global pandemic, we have to be safe, flexible, nimble and curious.  We must support all facets of our children's educational needs; these vary from child to child.  I will work with our citizens, families, parents, school personnel and the Board to follow our strategic priorities and guide our schools for this coming year and beyond. We have community engagement systems,  a web and social media presence and strive to improve our communication. We seek to meet the aspirations of the young people whom we educate.

I look forward to continuing our academic programs, increasing personalization and authentic, place based learning, expanding co-curricular, civic, service and after school programs, leveraging technology in the context of physical distancing and creatively working across all schools to share resources and maximize our potential.

I believe in a commitment to both the development of community assets and service; I take great pride in empowering students and staff to reach their highest potential. I look forward to working with our entire community to make the 2020-21 school year successful and inspiring, despite some of the bumps and obstacles we face as a result of our global health crisis.  Our children are our greatest resource, and we will continue to nurture and grow their young minds.

Jennifer Botzojorns, Superintendent

Jennifer began as superintendent in June of 2016. Her professional career started in independent boarding schools first as a Latin and English teacher then as as a counselor, dorm parent, admissions/development director, and school dean. She then moved to public secondary schools and taught Latin and mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry) for seven years. She spent seven years as a secondary school principal at Mt Mansfield Union High School and five years as Curriculum Director and Assistant Superintendent in Richmond, Vermont. She received a doctoral degree from University of Pennsylvania in Educational Leadership, Masters in educational leadership from the University of Vermont and bachelor's degree in government from Dartmouth College. @jenEDuvt or by email at jbotzojorns@kingdomeast.org.

Jennifer and her husband live in Concord. She has two grown children and enjoys spending time hiking, skiing, canoeing, and just being in the woods -- building and working with wood.