New RSU 13 superintendent welcomed at first district board meetingBoard votes to expand new K-4 iPad program
Rockland — The new superintendent of Regional School Unit 13 attended his first district board meeting Aug. 2 and received a welcome from the board and its chairman, Esther Kilgour.
Lewis S. Collins of Readfield was hired for the position last month after a unanimous vote of the board, which had searched for a superintendent for seven months.
Collins has been superintendent on Vinalhaven for the past two years and served as assistant superintendent and special education director at School Union 42 in Readfield, from 2004 until his recent resignation.
The Vinalhaven post is a three-day-a-week position. He is also that school’s special education director. Before the job in Readfield, Collins served for 15 years as director of the Child Development Services office in Farmington.
Collins said during the meeting that he plans to spend the first six to eight months finding out what he needs to know in the district, and what he needs to work on. He pledged that his administration would be “completely transparent.”
He plans to visit all the schools and will have only one all-district workshop this coming year so as not to take teachers away from their planning time.
The meeting followed an executive session on collective bargaining. At the opening of the regular meeting, the board voted unanimously to advance the existing contract for support staff to give payroll steps, based on seniority, retroactive to July 1.
Kilgour also thanked Business Manager Scott Vaitones for the work he had done on the current school budget while the district searched for a permanent superintendent.
South School Principal Todd Martin and fourth-grade teacher Nancy Nickerson presented a six-minute anti-bullying presentation — “The Domino Effect” — a finalist at the Waterville Film Festival July 21. The film, which was produced and acted by students in Nickerson’s class, portrays the problem of bullying in the schools. The story follows a student who is bullied at home and becomes a bully by the time he is in school.
Nickerson told the board that the movie started out as a 90-minute video that was whittled down to six minutes.
“One rule of the festival was that everything had to be done by the students,” she said.
“It would not have happened this way without the parents and the kids,” she added. “We’re proud of all the kids for taking a stand,” she said of the anti-bullying message.
The board approved the appointment of new teachers as follows:
Rebecca Albright, Gilford Butler School, kindergarten;
Deanne Tibbetts, Lura Libby School, Cushing Community School, South School and Gilford Butler School, library/media;
Abigail Nash, Rockland District Middle School, half-time music;
Megan Rivard, South School, kindergarten;
Sandra Francis, Oceanside High School-West, mathematics;
Andrea Reichard, Lura Libby School, special education;
Maurie Stockford, Oceanside High School-East, library/media specialist;
Sarah Barnard, elementary French;
Patricia English, St. George School, half-time instrumental music;
Liz Dickerson, Oceanside East, half-time technology;
and Lyndsey Ward, South School and Rockland District Middle School, half-time technology.
In other business, the board voted to extend the current district interim superintendent’s work agreement that was approved Dec. 1, 2011, for three days a week until Collins is able to assume his full-time duties while he is working out his contract at Vinalhaven until October. Both administrators will have signatory authority for the district during the time period.
The board amended a motion to expand the 2012-2013 iPad pilot projects to include one K-4 special education pilot, one grade-three pilot, and two kindergarten projects. The board’s vote would amend the period for payment from four years to three, but add about $3,000 a year. The project involves the purchase of about 75 Apple iPad computers.
Assistant Board Chairman Loren Andrews said, against objections to the added cost, to think of the computers as a “new pencil.”
“We have a long way to go to help our kids catch up,” he said, referring to global education.
Superintendent Collins reminded the board that each year “you pass a new warrant article. Each year, you have a chance to renew it up or down.”
The motion passed, as amended.
Board members accepted, with regrets, the resignations of Christina Wotton, Lura Libby School special education; Jessica Hutchins, South School, grade one; Alison Livergood, Rockland District Middle School, Owls Head Central School and Thomaston Grammar School art; and Douglas Kennedy, Oceanside High School music.
The board postponed for further discussion an idea to rotate board meetings to be held at different schools in the district.
The board also by consensus said it would honor a request by former board Chairman Greg Hamlin to be an ex-officio member of the Strategic Planning Committee.
The board by consensus said, however, it would not accept his offer to sit on the Many Flags/One Community Foundation Board as an ex-officio member representing the district because he would not be a voting member.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that the contract for support staff was advanced; a new contract was not adopted.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.