Eliza Haselton said May 10 that she was running for a seat on the Five Town Community School District and School Administrative District 28 boards because it was time.

Rockport voters will choose between Tom Farley and Haselton to fill a three-year term on the board of School Administrative District 28 and Five Town Community School District. The seat is currently held by Elizabeth Saltonstall.

“I’ve lived here 20 years and I want to give back,” said Haselton. “We’ve had kids go through the whole school system and it seemed like a good time.” Her daughter is a freshman at Camden Hills Regional High School and her son is a member of the graduating class of 2011.

Haselton said she owned a small business in town, and is a taxpayer.

“We’re in a situation where we are concerned about taxes,” she said. Haselton said she had been a teacher at Peopleplace Cooperative Preschool.

“It was a nice grassroots scene,” she said. “I met lots of families.”

She said she was a well-educated person and cared about education.

“I want to see the board focus on curriculum,” said Haselton. She said facilities in the district were in good shape.

“Camden Rockport Middle School is a great building and can be kept going,” she said. “With proper maintenance it can be kept top notch for a long time. I’m a big supporter of annual maintenance.”

Haselton said schools should give students the reading, writing and mathematics skills so that, when they leave high school, they will be “independent, creative thinkers who can get out in the community and find a passion.” She said college was not for everybody and that students should be encouraged to pursue their dreams.

“I believe our schools give the kids every possibility and encouragement to achieve that goal,” she said of those who planned to attend college.

Haselton said there was a definite need for arts and technology education in the curriculum. She said the Mid-Coast School of Technology was a good option that was not used enough and that work needed to be done to lessen the stigma of attending that facility.

“My husband’s in the [building] trades and it’s a great career,” said Haselton. “He’s a super smart guy. The trades are important.”

She said arts were important too.

“So many kids find the standard subjects are tough for them,” she said. “It’s all about self-esteem and confidence.”

“It’s also important for them to find a community in the school and to find something relaxing,” she said. “It doesn’t all have to be stressful.”

Haselton said a room at the middle school that contains unused industrial technology equipment was centrally located and could serve as a conference room. She also said money could be saved by closing down the unused space.

“When my kids were there, my son was very lucky that they had a half-time industrial arts teacher,” she said. “He was hard to replace.”

“I don’t think sitting still is for everybody,” said Haselton. She said a friend who is an infant mental health specialist has suggested stability balls to help students stay in place without staying still. She said there were a lot of tools available to help such students.

“Hopefully, by the time they’re in high school they’ve figured themselves out,” said Haselton. “The goal is for them to advocate for themselves. It’s a gradual process.”

“It’s a very complicated job,” Haselton said about the position of superintendent. She said the right person was one who is well connected with teachers, the community and families. She also said that good communication skills, fairness and knowledge of policy were important attributes.

Other traits of a good administrator were a clear vision for developing curriculum, understanding and compassion.

“Tough love with discipline, but looking at the kids as individuals,” she said.

Haselton said a good principal had the same traits.

“The superintendent has more responsibility over the really big picture, and probably has to be more concerned with creating the policy, if you really want to create an environment where teachers are moving forward with modern tools and achieving goals,” said Haselton. She said that required good communication with staff about how to achieve those goals.

She said a superintendent also needed to create a budget that maximizes the resources available in the community.

“I just introduced myself to the new superintendent,” she said. “I think he’s going to be great. He sounds like a go-getter.”

Haselton said she didn’t have a strong opinion about merging SAD 28 and School Union 69. She said it has not happened yet because people feel things work well as they are.

“Of course we’re getting penalized, but I trust that everybody involved in that decision was doing their homework,” she said.

“I am concerned about education, kids, efficiency and budget. I am a hard worker and a calm ‘get it done’ kind of citizen,” she said.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by email at sauciello@villagesoup.com.