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Helprin to step down as superintendent of School Union 69

By Gabriel Blodgett | Jan 06, 2020
Courtesy of: Dianne Helprin Dianne Helprin will step down from her position as superintendent of School Union 69 on June 30, 2020.

Hope — Dianne Helprin, superintendent of School Union 69, is resigning from her position effective June 30, 2020.

Helprin made the announcement in her December Superintendent’s Report, calling her time working with the school communities of Hope, Appleton, and Lincolnville, “one of the best educational experiences of my career.”

Via email Helprin said “I wish everyone the best going forward because I don’t believe there is anything more important than caring for and preparing our children for happiness and fulfillment in their future. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this endeavor in Union 69 for the last 5 years!”

Helprin has been superintendent since July 1, 2015, when she took over the position after serving 13 years as principal of Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor.

She said that the unique structure of School Union 69, where Hope, Appleton, and Lincolnville function as their own districts for elementary school, sharing only a superintendent and special education director, provides challenges in terms of financial efficiency but is “beneficial for communities wanting to retain local control.”

She said understanding this structure is “critical for effective leadership of the district.”

During her tenure, Helprin said, “the greatest challenge that I encountered and that continues to concern me is the unsustainable school budget increases due to mandatory special education funding.”

“It is extremely difficult to face community members who share that they will have to sell their homes because they can no longer pay their property taxes on their limited incomes,” she continued. “We also have facility space and maintenance issues that we will be facing on those limited financial resources.”

In the future, Helprin said she hopes there are efforts to “figure out a way to restructure the special education funding at the federal level to help distribute the mandatory costs of programming across a broader base.”

She said she also hopes “our communities and town officials will all work together to help solve these issues. The solutions can’t rest on the school committee members and administrators alone.”

To that end, Helprin said she was proud of her work helping to “pave the way for these conversations through two town forums that were organized to have selectmen, budget committee and school committee members sit down with our state representatives to hear about the challenges small rural communities are facing with increasing educational costs out of our control.”

Helprin said one of the best parts of her job was the annual visits to volunteer in each classroom in the district where she was able to “see first-hand the hard work and joy they experience on a daily basis.”

She said “we are so fortunate to have so many committed staff and school committee members willing to share their strengths in educating our children.”

After leaving her position, Helprin, who is originally from Alliance, Ohio, said she plans on visiting with her family and friends scattered across the country and “traveling and researching educational systems in other countries, especially funding and how they best meet the needs of children with diverse challenges and strengths.”

There is no word yet on who will replace Helprin, but she said the Union 69 School Committee has contacted the Maine School Management Association for help with the process and their first meeting is Jan. 23.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Carol Hathorne | Jan 06, 2020 21:00

Dianne has done a great job in Union 69. Best of luck with your future adventures!,

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