SAD 4 superintendent search underway

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GUILFORD — With the position of SAD 4 superintendent currently being advertised in education publications and soon in the state’s daily newspapers — the application deadline is Friday, March 2 — Interim Superintendent Raymond Freve presented the school board with a draft search committee proposal during a Jan. 9 meeting at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

Freve proposed having the search committee be made up of the board chair, two other directors, elementary and secondary school administrators, an employee from the central office, a teacher representative, a paraprofessional and an official from one of the district towns. He said he had been told that the previous search committee was too large, so the recommendation is to have the group at no more than 10 members.

“You will have to approve that sooner or later,” Freve said. He said committee members should plan to attend each of the group sessions in order to meet all the candidates. The committee would recommend a candidate in writing and then “the board would interview the candidate this committee recommends.”
Board member Cindy Hoak suggested two teachers, such as one from each school, serve on the committee which would bring the group membership total to 10.

Freve said the committee will set its schedule to conduct the interview process and make a recommendation to the full board. He said his last day could be as late as July 1.

“That will be up to you when you want the individual to take over,” Freve said.

The search committee plan is scheduled to be voted on at the school board’s February meeting.

In other business, the school board approved the superintendent’s nomination of District Technology Director Jessica Dunton as assistant principal at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

“I’m really excited to give it a try, being an assistant principal is a priority for me,” Dunton, who is in her first year in SAD 4, said. Dunton said she has been very happy as the technology director and “this opened up and I figured I would give it a try.”

Freve said the elementary assistant principal position was first advertised internally and two applicants from within the district applied.

Previous assistant principal Joe Gallant is now serving as the physical education/health teacher at Piscataquis Community High School. He is continuing as the athletic director for the high school and middle school sports programs.

Freve said the budget committee was scheduled to start meeting within the next week. He said the principals have submitted financial information for the 2018-19 academic year, and he will be hearing what the budget committee members would like to see in the next spending plan.

“I believe the last draft of the entire application was emailed to everybody,” Board Chair Niki Fortier said in her report about the plan being submitted to the Maine Department of Education (DOE) for a Integrated, Consolidated grades 9-16 Educational Facility pilot project between SAD 4 and the Dexter-based SAD 46 as well as SAD 41 of the Milo area.

“So now we wait, sometime in February we should learn the preliminary results,” Fortier said.

Freve said the DOE is scheduled to make the announcement next month in Augusta and he is planning to attend. The local application is one of three being submitted for a comprehensive high school and the other two are located in Aroostook County.

“There always could be issues,” Fortier said, as the plans could still change regardless of which applicant is atop the list next month. “If anyone didn’t know, Milo did vote in their November meeting to join us,” Fortier added.

Earlier in the year the partnership between SAD 46 and SAD 4 — with SAD 41 joining later — was announced as one of three finalists for the pilot project, with the other two finalists based in and around Fort Kent and Madawaska as well as in Houlton and the surrounding school districts. The comprehensive high school would be funded by the state — about $200 million is set aside for the institution — to serve as a model for the rest of Maine. The institution would offer a variety of academic programs from high school to college and trainings and certifications in various industries.

PCES Principal Anita Wright was asked how the school is doing in the WinterKids Winter Games competition. “We are not in last place, but we have a significant challenge that the other schools do not in that we are pre-K-8 school,” she sid.

This month PCES students are competing in four weeks of physical activity and nutrition challenges designed to help them be active in the winter and learn healthy habits. Pupils earn points along the way — based on percentages of students who participate — as one school from each of Maine’s 16 counties competes to win one of three cash prizes for the institution.

Wright said a challenge stems from the fact that the seventh- and eighth-graders have a rotating schedule, so it is more difficult to set aside time for them to head outside. She also said many of these older pupils choose not to head outdoors when the opportunity arises.

“We are trying hard to get them to go outside,” Wright said. “It’s not the same as the second grader who wants to go outside and slide down the hill.”

The elementary principal said one other 2018 Winter Games participating school has grade 7-8 students, and this she said this institution has only 42 total pupils as compared to the 300 more at PCES. Wright said school officials may ask WinterKids if PCES grades 7-8 could be exempt from the participation tallies.

PCHS Principal John Keane said he wanted to bring up the concept of an athletic hall of fame, to capture this part of the school and community history. Keane said the hall of fame may be pursued regardless of what happens moving forward with the comprehensive high school.

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