RSU 40 interim superintendent readyOffers 32 years experience
Union — It is all about the children says Michael Cormier, interim superintendent for Regional School Unit 40.
Cormier, of Wilton, now retired twice, brings 32 years of superintendent experience to the table as Susan Pratt departs to become superintendent and high school principal of Rangeley Lakes Regional School District. Pratt was Cormier's assistant superintendent for seven years, prior to her coming to RSU 40. He began the job July 1.
"It's not a job. It's a vocation," said Cormier in describing his leadership path. He spent 20 years as superintendent in Wilton at RSU 9. Prior to that he spent eight years in the Searsport school district and three years in Deer Isle as a teaching principal.
Cormier earned his master's degree in literacy from the University of Maine at Orono, and completed his doctorate at Boston College.
"My main goal is to maintain and support the initiatives the district is working on," Cormier said.
He added he hopes to share different perspectives he has learned through his teaching experiences, and will work hand-in-hand with the school board, teachers and principals.
Developing a long range plan for the district — incorporating initiatives and direction — is Cormier's primary goal.
Cormier had the opportunity to meet with some of the high school teachers at a recent conference. "Their commitment and passion for what they do is amazing," he said.
"This is a good school district with wonderful teachers. It is good work they are doing," said Cormier.
Cormier's philosophy is to figure out a better way to motivate the students.
"They need to be taught how the subject and learning transfers to their future," he said. "I'm not willing to write anybody off."
He believes that career technical education has proven its success. "We need to figure out how to infuse that in to all areas of study," Cormier said.
"Learning needs to be individualized," he said. He explained that children need to be exposed to all types of learning, so they can determine what level of mastering is necessary for their own needs for the future.
Cormier believes the arts and athletics make for well-rounded citizens. "They are equally important to the core education," he stated. He believes in educating the whole child.
The greatest challenge Cormier foresees is learning the system.
"My challenge is to find out what the district challenges are, what my role may be and how I can help," said Cormier. "We need to resolve the issues so we can move on."
Cormier also feels the Legislature presents many challenges for the educational system.
"We are saturated with our expectations of our teachers," said Cormier, adding that bills are being passed, however extra days or supplies are not being added to accomplish the expectation.
"The evaluation system — of teachers and students — needs to be rewritten," said Cormier. "We need to problem solve together," he said.
"The bottom line is that it is all for the children, so they will become successful adults in our society," Cormier said.
Cormier has dedicated up to one year of his time while the school board looks for a superintendent. He is spending the summer in Surry with his wife, Susan. The couple have two grown children.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at email@example.com.