At Head of Kids' Table, She Finds Her Place
Olivia Hull

It was the first chilly day of fall and West Tisbury middle schoolers had their hands stuffed into their pockets as they waited outside for the school day to begin. “Can we go into the gym?” one ventured to Donna Lowell-Bettencourt, the new principal who seemed like she’d always been the principal. “It’s cold.”

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Donna Lowell-Bettencourt Named Principal of West Tisbury School
Vanessa Czarnecki
The West Tisbury School has a new principal, Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss announced Wednesday.

Donna Lowell-Bettencourt, interim director of student support services at Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, will take over the role before the start of the school year, Mr. Weiss said.

“We have chosen Donna Lowell-Bettencourt and she has agreed. We will work out the details of her moving from the present position to that one in the next week or so,” he said.

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A Principal and a Gentleman, Michael Halt Says Goodbye
Olivia Hull

The 33 eighth graders at the West Tisbury School aren’t the only ones moving on to high school. Their principal, Michael Halt, an Island educator and administrator since 1997, is gearing up for a major transition of his own. Mr. Halt’s last day is June 28. Then he will pack up his truck and head for California, where, in the fall, he will start as principal of the San Clemente High School.

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Search Begins for West Tisbury School Principal
Remy Tumin
At a meeting Tuesday Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said he would like to avoid appointing an interim principal to replace outgoing principal Michael Halt, and hire a permanent principal in time for the start of the school year next September.
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West Tisbury School Principal Michael Halt Takes Job in California
Sara Brown

West Tisbury school principal Michael Halt will leave the Vineyard at the end of the school year to take a job as a high school principal in California.

Mr. Halt, who has served as principal at the West Tisbury school since 2004, has accepted a job as principal of San Clemente High School in San Clemente, Calif., superintendent of schools James H. Weiss confirmed Thursday.

He said Mr. Halt planned to announce his departure to his staff at the end of the day Thursday.

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As Special Needs Programs Grow In Complexity, So Do Budgets
Katie Ruppel

Madeline Way tapped on an iPad in her Project Headway classroom at the West Tisbury School.

“The kids who use this program cannot talk,” she explained. “But they can go like this in a fury.”

Tap, tap, tap. The iPad speaks: “I — want — puzzles.”

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Finalists for Principals Include Six from Island; Appointments Thursday
Chris Burrell

Six Island educators are among the nine finalists now vying for the interim principal jobs in both the West Tisbury and Chilmark schools.

The high-speed search for school leaders comes less than a month after two principals in the Up-Island district - Elaine Pace and Carlos Colley - handed in their resignations after each serving three years on the job.

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Principal at West Tisbury School Is Called to Active Duty in Iraq
Rachel Nava Rohr

West Tisbury School principal Michael A. Halt, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, was called back to active duty this week and will leave for training in just over a week to prepare for a tour of duty in Iraq.

Mr. Halt received the official letter on Wednesday and has known with near certainty that he would be leaving for a little more than two weeks. He must report for duty by Jan. 15.

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Edward Jerome Takes the Helm at West Tisbury School for Year
Rachel Nava Rohr

Retired Edgartown School principal Edward J. Jerome will take over on Tuesday as interim principal of West Tisbury School, superintendent of schools Dr. James H. Weiss announced this week. West Tisbury School principal Michael Halt, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, leaves this weekend for active duty in California and Iraq.

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West Tisbury School Celebrates Principal Halt’s Return from Iraq
Jack Shea

January tears were replaced by October smiles welcoming U.S. Marine Lieut. Col. Michael Halt back to West Tisbury on Monday.

Better known as school principal Mr. Halt to 283 students at the school, Mr. Halt was welcomed home with simple heartfelt words by his peers and was serenaded by the student body and by the faculty after an eight-month tour of active duty, including seven and a half months based in Seleucia, Iraq.

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