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Instructor Spotlight

A Familiar Person in a New Role!

By Bob Jones



Dylan Kidder


In this last of the series of new people at River Bend Career and Technology, or people in new positions at the school, we feature a person well-known in this part of the Upper Valley!  Dylan Kidder is the Heavy Equipment Instructor at the Center, a position that he loves!

As many of you may already know, Dylan grew up in West Newbury, Vermont, and spent most of his early years combing the hills and valleys of the area around Tucker Mountain.  Part-way through his elementary school years, Dylan moved with his family to India for five years, where his mom and dad taught at an international school.  Living in India was an amazing adventure for Dylan, and he still maintains contact with friends and acquaintances he made during that time.  He arrived back in West Newbury to start his freshmen year at Oxbow, and graduated from Oxbow High School four years later.  Dylan knew when he returned to the area that he had a real interest in career and technical education as part of his pathway to the future, so he spent two years in the Building Trades program, taught by Harry McLam.  Part of his interest in construction comes from an uncle, who was a carpenter.  Another catalyst to pursuing a path in technical education came early, as Dylan remembers coming to one of the earlier “Expo’s , a community technical trade and industry show, hosted by River Bend each year, at the time. As a 2nd or 3rd grade student, he remembers vividly climbing all over the trucks, tractors and dozers that were on display for the show!

During high school, like most students, Dylan began to look at what comes next for education and training, after graduation.  A science and natural resource teacher, Tom Smith, was instrumental in sparking Dylan’s interest in forestry and natural resource management.  so Dylan applied and then attended Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smith, New York.  Dylan received his degree in Forest Technology from the school, moved back to southern Vermont, and began logging with Longview Forestry, an all-encompassing forest management and equipment company.   

After logging with Longview for about two years, Dylan decided to come back to our area, and began a job at Housewright Construction, in Newbury, as a carpenter.  This was an incredibly valuable experience for Dylan, and he thoroughly enjoyed his year in this trade.  The lore of the woods, however, found Dylan purchasing a skidder and going back to logging, on his own, in our area, for the next three years.  As business was building, he added a forwarder to his logging equipment inventory and was about to expand his business when he was approached by his old employer, Longview Forestry, to join them as a shareholder and partner.  For the next ten years, Dylan found himself supervising and running logging crews working in our area.

As has happened in so many industries, Covid came in 2020 and radically changed the flow and production of forest products in our area, as well as the demand world-wide.  Dylan’s experience of working with others over the years had him thinking of serving the industry in a different capacity. His idea was that perhaps he could be part of the training of skilled workers that seemed so needed, not only in the forest industry, but all of the related fields and trades.  The idea of being part of the education community was not something unfamiliar to Dylan, as both his mom and dad, as well as his wife, have been educators.

Coincidentally, in the summer of 2022, River Bend Career and Technical Center was able to obtain some grant funding for a “lab assistant” position, shared between the Diversified Agriculture program and the Heavy Equipment program.  Working in this capacity for the 2022-2023 school year provided the perfect opportunity for Dylan to “put his toe in the water” of career and technical education, and he found that it was both eye-opening and that he loved the experience! When the former Heavy Equipment instructor decided to retire at the end of that school year, Dylan was ready for the challenge and the advancement. 

Dylan’s first year has gone quickly, and he cannot say enough in a positive way about the high quality of his students!  They have learned together, accomplished a lot, and the students are mastering transferable skills that they can use in whatever careers they enter.  Dylan is indebted to both his lab assistant, Pete “Rose” Rosen, and to his extremely active local advisory committee.  Local industries, through his advisory members, have provided support and opportunities in work-based learning that could never just happen in the classroom.  Rose’s teaching experience and his knowledge of diesel mechanics have been invaluable for his class.   

Looking to the future, Dylan hopes to continue to provide his students with skills and expertise in running equipment, experience in the shop with repairs, maintenance, a background in welding, and to be able to have students take those skills into quality, relevant work-based learning opportunities in our community.  Dylan is also committed to showing opportunities in the heavy equipment field to nontraditional students.  The “bottom line” in Dylan’s educational philosophy is to push each of his students to be best person that they can be!  Judging from the activity in the shop and on the school’s outdoor training site, Dylan is having success at reaching his goal!