Despite an unprecedented outpouring of support from the Region 14 community, the district has confirmed Counselor Kathy Green’s position at Nonnewaug High School will be cut effective Feb 1.
Green is a respected and much-admired figure in the towns of Woodbury and Bethlehem who students and parents say has been instrumental in connecting students of all academic backgrounds to post-secondary opportunities.
Board of Education meetings rarely have more than 30 people in attendance, yet last week’s Board meeting hosted a record-breaking 150 residents who joined the virtual meeting to show support for Green. Board Chair George Bauer read some of the many moving letters submitted by students, parents, and Green’s colleagues on her behalf.
Nonnewaug senior Hailey Sirois wrote that she is outraged by the cut. “As a senior, Mrs. Green has been my main supporter. She has been there for me and all my fellow students. I don’t know what I would be doing next year without her.”
“My senior year at Nonnewaug was very difficult and I do not know where I would have ended up if I never had stepped foot into Mrs. Green’s office,” wrote recent Nonnewaug graduate Ashley Piencka. “She encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and made me realize that college could be the greatest thing I ever did. And it is.”
“Mrs. Green has been invaluable to our son during a year in which the college application process has been unprecedented,” said parent Christine Lavaway. It is not a typical year nor a typical college decision process, and students continue to need Mrs. Green’s guidance through May. It is short sighted to lose her and her expertise. Her skills are in demand and other schools would be happy to have her.”
Nonnewaug Teachers’ Association President Chris York who helped organize the support for Green says that cutting Green’s part-time counselor position saves the district “a ridiculously small amount.”
“Purportedly, she was laid off because of financial concerns, though no figures have been provided to determine the savings,” he says. “District officials also have cited declining enrollment, which, as it turns out, is untrue.”
York describes Green as a “fabulous and outstanding” member of the Nonnewaug High School faculty and says, ”I was a little emotional as the Board chair was reading through the students’ letters since they were so well written.”
York adds, “Kathy didn’t just cater to the best students, she worked with students who were struggling to get through high school and helped them get connected to jobs and community college.”
In their letters to the Board of Education many teachers emphasized the meaningful connections that Green created with each of her students.
“The relationships Kathy has with her students are one of a kind,” wrote art teacher Leeza Desjardins. “She works to create a safe learning environment where her students are willing to take risks and explore all possibilities after Nonnewaug. It is evident in her daily interactions that Kathy cares about each and every one of her students.”
“Mrs. Green was always working so hard and helping a plethora of people with their college struggles and questions, but yet she always made each of us feel like the center of her focus and provided individual and genuine advice across the board,” wrote recent Nonnewaug graduate Alyna Jones. “She always made time for everyone and helped in any way she could. Mrs. Green is a role model for me–she is someone I aspire to be like when I am older.”