Monument high school taps new principal with 'range of experiences'

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GREAT BARRINGTON — A longtime educator with a "range of experiences" has been chosen as the next principal of Monument Mountain Regional High School.

Douglas Wine, who was most recently principal of the Bishop Dunne Catholic School in Dallas for two years, will start at his new post July 1, according to Berkshire Hills Regional School District Superintendent Peter Dillon.

"Doug's range of experiences, clear thinking, his interest in supporting student and teacher growth, and his desire to listen and respond to our needs will build on Monument's strengths and help us move forward," Dillon said in a news release. His yearly salary will be $125,000.

He will succeed Amy Rex, who is leaving after just one year at Monument for a superintendent job in Vermont, where she worked previously.

Wine has also served as principal, curriculum director and English teacher in schools in New Mexico, Virginia and Georgia. He has degrees in business and English, as well as a master's degree in liberal studies from St. John's College in Santa Fe, N.M. He also holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Wine praised Monument, and said he's ready to move its caliber up a notch, "to its next level of excellence."

"I was impressed and excited by the number of programs available to students," he said. "Then I met a significant number of community members and got a feel for what a special place I will have the privilege of leading."

Wine, 52, told The Eagle that after years working with teenagers, he advocates a straightforward approach of teachers telling students what it is they want them to learn.

"Students want clarity and predictability in their education," he said, noting that often a focus on "pedagogy and strategy" can lose a student's attention if it isn't matched with clarity about what has to be learned. He also said all the distractions in the lives of students today requires even more clarity.

"You have to be real with students," he added, noting that there's no one who can call a "fake" like a teenager. "This gives us integrity and authenticity [with them]."

Wine said he had focused his job search efforts in Western Massachusetts in order to escape the fierce allergens that pervade Dallas; the city was rated the third most allergic in the U.S.

"It's a weird story," he said of his reasons for leaving. But his allergies to ragweed and cedar are so gripping, he had to have surgery to his sinuses.

"I sort of can't take this misery," he said.

Wine also said his wife knows the state — she originally hails from Worcester. Wine himself is from Long Island. He said their two children are in their early 20s and out of the house, which allows the couple to move anywhere.

Rex has said that she chose to leave her post after such a short time so she could pursue a broader form of school leadership at a higher administrative level, after working as a principal at different schools for many years.

She had replaced Maryanne Young, the school's longtime principal, who retired.

Wine is entering a challenging rural education landscape that includes declining student populations, calls for education funding changes, explorations of future consolidation, and a deteriorating 50-year-old school building. Monument serves students from Great Barrington, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.

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