RSU 13 hires interim superintendent, elects new board chairman
Rockland — A change in leadership in Regional School Unit 13 occurred Feb. 11 with the hiring of an interim superintendent and the appointment of a new board chairman.
The RSU 13 Board hired Michael Wilhelm of Casco as the new interim superintendent and narrowly elected Steve Roberts of Rockland as the new board chairman. Wilhelm began the job Feb. 18.
Wilhelm served as superintendent of School Administrative District 75, which includes the towns of Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Topsham, and Harpswell. He also has served as the assistant superintendent and principal in that district and has teaching experience.
Wilhelm, who attended the board meeting, also said he worked for 16 months in RSU 16 (Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls) as an interim when both the superintendent and business manager were on paid leave.
Wilhelm signed a contract with RSU 13 to serve the district until the end of May and will be paid $500 per day. He is set to begin the job next week. As part of the agreement, he will be paid no health insurance benefits, but will have his rent of $400 per month paid for in Rockland.
Board Chairman Esther "Tess" Kilgour said Wilhelm came highly recommended through Maine School Management Association and has been a previous Superintendent of the Year.
"We've been searching for Superman. Are you Superman?" St. George Board Representative Sherman Hoyt asked.
Wilhelm replied no, but board member Steve Roberts of Rockland said his references speak otherwise.
When asked by a member of the public his thoughts on community input and having a superintendent that encourages it, Wilhelm said he is a "firm believer in transparency," and that a school belongs to the people.
Wilhelm's hiring followed a closed-door hearing that was attended by some members of the board, but not all, as the vote to enter into the private meeting was not approved by the board. The vote was 7-5, but according to board policy a three-fifths vote is needed. Taking weighted votes into consideration, it did not receive 60 percent approval.
Following the vote, Kilgour stood up and said the emergency session needed to happen, called a recess and asked that if board members wanted to attend they should. Roberts, Christine Curtis of South Thomaston and Nancy Jeffers of Rockland joined the session.
After the public contested entering a closed-session that was not approved, several minutes passed before Wilhelm came back into the meeting room, introduced himself and said he was seeking the interim superintendent job.
School board chairman
One of the newest members of the RSU 13 board will take over the reins as chairman of the board, beginning with the next meeting, set for Thursday, March 6.
Roberts, who was elected to the board in November, was elected to the seat after a lengthy discussion. St. George Board Representative George Emery was also nominated for the seat.
The vote was tied 6-6, but due to weighted votes, Roberts won the seat, 506-494.
"We have been deeply divided as a board and we need to end that," Roberts said.
An agenda item to contract Brian Messing of Rockland to aid in the creation of the 2014-2015 budget was removed.
The board took no official action on whether to merge Thomaston Grammar School and Rockland District Middle School, but expressed a desire to have the administration team look further into what a possible consolidation may look like, taking into consideration the financial and education benefits as well as the pros and cons.
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.