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Statement from Governor Phil Scott on Agency of Education Secretary Appointee Zoie Saunders

March 28, 2024

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement on his appointment of Zoie Saunders to serve as Vermont’s next education secretary.

“Last week, I announced my appointment of Zoie Sunders as the next secretary of education in Vermont.

“Since that time, I’ve been disappointed to see many in and around the State House spreading or believing misinformation, making assumptions and levying attacks on her character – all without ever having met her or spoken to her.

“Disturbingly, all these false accusations and judgements appear to be based on the state she currently lives in, and a cherry-picked part of her resume that’s been turned into a boogeyman with no attempts to understand her work or the value her experience could bring for Vermont kids and schools.

“Frankly, I’m embarrassed by the message it sends, that a smart, extremely capable professional woman, who has dedicated her career to improving outcomes for kids and addressing inequity for impoverished communities and families, is being villainized simply because of the state she currently lives in. And that legislators would believe what they read on Twitter, and jump to conclusions about her experience, goals and perspective without ever speaking to her.

“As we struggle to recruit people to government and families to Vermont, this sends a terrible message. Especially as a state that prides itself on being open-minded, accepting, warm, friendly and welcoming.

“Fortunately, I have more faith in the people of Vermont, who I believe will look at Secretary-designate Saunders with an open mind. And when they have the opportunity to learn more about her, they will see that she is someone who cares deeply about improving outcomes for students – and has a track record of doing just that – and who also has the strategic leadership experience we need to address our significant cost challenges in a way that best serves kids, teachers, schools, employers and taxpayers. This is exactly what we need right now, and I look forward to working with her to make Vermont the best cradle to career education system in the country while ensuring Vermonters can sustain this critical investment.”

Learn more about Secretary-designate Saunders priorities and enthusiasm for Vermont public education here.

Watch her introductory press conference here.

View Secretary-designate Saunders resume here.