Carlson prepares for leadership role at Camden Hills

By Louis Bettcher | May 19, 2017
Photo by: Louis Bettcher Superintendent Maria Libby and Dr. Shawn Carlson on May 12.
Dr. Shawn Carlson
Dr. Shawn Carlson describes what he's looking forward to as he prepares to begin as Principal at Camden Hills Regional High School on May 12. (Video by: Louis Bettcher)

Camden — Dr. Shawn Carlson will begin July 1 as principal at Camden Hills Regional High School.

The decision to hire Carlson was announced by Five Town CSD Superintendent Maria Libby last week, and he will replace Robert Sampson, who resigned for personal reasons after one year at the school.

“I am truly excited to be a part of what I think is a very successful district. I'm really looking forward to sitting and listening closely to the community, to my fellow administrators, the teachers and the students and find those opportunities to help,” said Carlson on May 12.

Carlson has 20 years experience in education, most recently serving as superintendent of AOS 98, which includes Boothbay, Edgecomb, Southport and Georgetown schools. Carlson has also served as assistant principal and athletics director in the Boothbay Regional Schools.

Carlson plans to commute from his home in Damariscotta to his new office at CHRHS. The school's population will also offer a significant change: the Boothbay Regional High school and is attended by approximately 200 students. The student population at Camden Hills is around 720, nearly the aggregate of all of the students in the AOS 98 school district (750.)

Although both districts are situated on the coast, see ample tourist traffic in the summer and feature working waterfronts, Carlson said that he is excited to spend more time in the Camden area, and familiarize himself with whatever social, geographic and dynamic differences there might be between the two areas and school districts.

"I think that the pace of expectations in adolescent kids has quickened, and they're growing up faster. A large number of high school students have worked hard to expand their resumes, and I see kids today with very little down time. After school many of them have jobs, and participate in sports and other extracurricular activities.

The nature of social media, the interactions that young people have through technology, seldom give them a break. This is something new, that's been happening over the last decade," said Carlson on some of the challenges facing high school students. He was previously involved with Teens to Trails, a Wiscasset-based organization which supports high school outing clubs.

"One way to address some of those issues is to spend some time 'offline' and to experience the outdoors," said Carlson.

Carlson described his position as administrator as a behind the scenes, research-based supportive role compared to that of a principal.

"The role of principal is substantially different. You get to be the champion, the public face of the school, and I'm looking forward to representing the needs of the students and faculty at Camden Hills. My public persona is much quieter in the superintendent role that I'm in now," said Carlson.

Carlson was one of three finalists for the position, which carries an annual salary of $108,000. He was hired through a unanimous vote by the Five Town CSD School Board during an emergency meeting held on May 8.

"From the moment that I'm in the [Five Town CSD] district, I hope that people will come in and introduce themselves to me, and I'm looking forward to gaining some new context of what I know about the district once I'm in office," said Carlson.

Courier Publications reporter Louis Bettcher can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at lbettcher@villagesoup.com.

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