New faces in RSU 13

District hires superintendent, Oceanside principal

Business manager also appointed
By Kim Lincoln | Jul 10, 2014
Photo by: Dan West John McDonald gives the administrative address at the Belfast Area High School 2014 graduation.

Rockland — Belfast's Regional School Unit 20 assistant superintendent has been hired as the new superintendent in RSU 13.

The RSU 13 board appointed John C. McDonald to a two-year contract at its July 10 meeting.

McDonald will be paid $104,000, plus benefits. He will begin the job Aug. 1.

The board also appointed Renee Thompson as the principal of Oceanside High School East. She is currently the principal at Ellsworth High School.

McDonald, a graduate of both the University of Maine and University of Southern Maine, has worked his entire professional career in Waldo County, working in RSU 3, which includes the towns of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and in the RSU 20 district, which includes Belmont, Belfast, Morrill, Northport, Searsmont, Searsport, Stockton Springs and Swanville.

He has served since 2009 as the assistant superintendent and director of curriculum and instruction for RSU 20, but has also been the assistant principal of Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, principal and a teacher at Monroe Elementary School, director of technology and assessment at Morse Memorial School in Brooks.

McDonald has a master's degree in educational leadership.

McDonald will work alongside Interim Superintendent Leon Levesque for two weeks (until Aug. 12). Levesque began in the district July 1, replacing Interim Superintendent Michael Wilhelm, who worked for the district from February to June, following the resignation of Superintendent Lew Collins.

Thompson will begin the job in Rockland in mid-August. She has been principal of Ellsworth High School since 2011 and is also co-owner of River Valley Chiropractic. Prior to becoming principal at the Ellsworth school, served as the assistant principal. She also was a family and consumer science teacher at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

She has a master's degree in educational leadership and is a doctorate candidate in educational leadership at the University of New England in Biddeford.

The board also appointed Peter Orne of Camden as the business manager, replacing Scott Vaitones.

Other positions filled:

Lauren Thorbjornson, first-grade teacher at South School

Christine Lanphere, English teacher at Oceanside High School East

Marsha Bartley, eighth- and ninth-grade social studies teacher at Oceanside High School West

Christine Munnelly, French teacher at Oceanside High School West.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the McLain School.

RSU 13 includes schools in Rockland, Thomaston, South Thomaston, Owls Head, St. George and Cushing.

Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at

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