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Community divided over finalist for principal - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Community divided over finalist for principal

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Noah Noyes Noah Noyes
BRADFORD, Vt. -

The slogan for the Orange East Supervisory Union reads "Coming Together for Lifelong Learning." But the top candidate for principal at Oxbow High School has divided some in this community.

"He's young and he's energetic, and we need somebody who would like to stay at Oxbow," Superintendent Beth Cobb said.

Noah Noyes is the current principal at Danville High, where he recently found himself on the wrong side of the law. Last summer, police charged Noyes and Superintendent Martha Tucker with failing to report to the state that a student claimed a teacher had fondled her in class. Noyes' lawyer argued he was just following orders from his boss, and Noyes accepted a plea deal which-- if he lives up to the court conditions-- will wipe his record clean.

But his past does not sit well with everyone. The school board invited Noyes to address the issue in front of the community and the school board Wednesday night.

"They understand that the community has concerns and rightly so," Cobb said. "This is an important job, and bringing someone to our community with a history and to clear that, not only for the community but for Noah also."

But some members of this school district feel Noyes should not even be considered for the post. BreAnna Kline is a former student who moved back to the community after college. She shared her concerns on the phone.

"I want to know our school board is putting forth a candidate who isn't bringing a negative history with him," Kline said.

School officials say the public forum is a chance to clear the air in a community that's faced teacher sex cases before.

"I do feel like it is a part of the healing process and the community is hurt from going through two different episodes," Cobb said.

The most recent case has yet to be resolved. This past Friday, a former physical education teacher at Oxbow, Brian Musty, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old. Musty is waiting to be sentenced.

Last year, Richard Foster died in prison after being sentenced to 25 years behind bars for sexually assaulting two students and using them to make pornography at his Bradford home. Foster worked at the elementary school in town.

Residents say the possibility of Noyes joining the school community stirs bad memories.

"We're a community recovering from two separate counts for child sex abuse in our school system and I find it disturbing and insensitive that our school board would think it's appropriate to put forward a candidate with this history," Kline said.

But the district superintendent says Noyes' background might be exactly what this school system needs.

"Right or wrong, his awareness for it all has heightened. So, he is going to be eyes wide open. Never, ever think about not calling or calling DCF," Cobb said.

The district has made it clear the final decision on a new principal has not yet been made. However, officials say they are hoping Wednesday night's meeting brings a little clarity to the process so the community can move forward together.

Noah Noyes will address the Bradford community Wed., March 26. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.

We did reach out to Noyes for comment, but did not hear back.

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