If Jeffrey Evans ever feels frustrated in his new position as interim principal at Champlain Valley Union (CVU), he just has to harken back to his first career as a baseball umpire to realize that life is pretty good. After a decade of dealing with tobacco-spitting minor league managers, Evans is pleased to have found a home at CVU. “I really love it here,” he said. “I’ve been really happy since the day I started.”
During his years of umpiring, Evans spent the off-season substitute teaching and coaching at Northfield High School. When he abandoned the baseball diamond, he finished his college degree with the goal of becoming an English teacher. He was first hired at CVU as a coach and spent one year student teaching before becoming a full-fledged member of the faculty in 1993. His new administrative position comes with concessions. The three-sport high school athlete coached boys’ varsity basketball at CVU for 16 years. He also coached girls’ varsity for one year and spent several years with junior varsity teams. In the early 1990s he added soccer and golf to his coaching portfolio, but this year, all those positions will have to be filled by others as Evans devotes his time to the administration. “I think I’ll be kept busy enough that I may not have time to miss coaching,” he said. “It’s a fair trade-off. I love coaching, but I’ve done it for a very long time.”
Evans is proud of a number of initiatives taking place at CVU. In particular, he hopes to continue working on the Evolve project, which pertains to standards-based learning. “We want to become more of a standards-based system,” he said. “We have a number of groups and teachers who are making instructional shifts towards using standards and common core. We have some great people doing great work and want to continue to grow it.” Evans also hopes to continue the work of CVU’s EnACT group, which is trying to bring more environmentally sound practices to the school. He cited the CVU Graduation Challenge program as another initiative he hopes will endure and noted how impressed he was with CVU’s participation in last year’s Penguin Plunge.
The Shelburne native loves his home and his job. His two daughters graduated from CVU and went on to college while one son, still at home, is now his fishing companion – a pastime he refers to as “oddly reinvigorating.” In his spare time, Evans also enjoys reading, hiking, and playing golf.
“The most important and impressive thing about CVU is the students,” said Evans. “We’re a place where students have a great deal of freedom and a lot of responsibility. They come from families that value education and from a community that supports the school.” Evans credited the staff at CVU for perpetuating the supportive, educational environment. “We have a wonderful staff,” he said, “who understand that the most important thing is to meet every student’s needs. It’s vital that we continue to operate as a system that cares about relationship building. It’s what we do best at CVU and it’s extremely important that continues.”