RSU 13 hires interim superintendent, elects new board chairman

By Kim Lincoln | Feb 11, 2014
Photo by: Kim Lincoln Prior to being approved as the new interim superintendent for RSU 13, Mike Wilhelm of Casco has a laugh with an audience member when she asked if he would consider working for free.

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.

Other business

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

Comments (10)
Posted by: Susan P Reitman | Feb 14, 2014 08:05

Mr. Piscitelli write a letter to the Maine Attorney General with as much information or documentation you can get.  I am a firm believer though that the homeowners have the power by not paying their real estate tax until the RSU-13 mess is fixed.  I believe a TAX REVOLT is the only answer if enough people will get on board.  Get the media involved to explain why we are withholding our taxes and what is going on with RSU-13.  You know the saying, "MONEY TALKS" and if RSU-13 doesn't have money to screw us then they won't be able to screw the homeowner with outrageous real estate taxes.

Posted by: Nicole Prentiss | Feb 12, 2014 20:59

Folks what do you think we have been paying our outgoing Superintendent?  He got $100,000 a year approximately plus all his benefits.  Do a little math and you will see we paid him $500 a day EASILY!  I am a parent in this district and I know full well that we need to fix this system and it is drastically broken so don't get me wrong.  However we need to find someone who is willing to do the hard work of getting us on the right track.  I don't know if this man is that person or not but he can't be any worse than the last several we have had.  We told the kids when we combined the schools that they needed to learn to work together and get along..... to bad we didn't tell our board members, administration, and faculty the same thing.  Some days I think they need to take a lesson from the kids.

Posted by: Peter Jenks | Feb 12, 2014 17:05

God bless the new superintendent, he will need it. We need to pull together and stop the fighting. His pay is not out of line.  It is wonderful that we could find anyone willing to work with us. We all need to do whatever we can to make our schools better and help educate our young people. I hope this marks a new day for our district.

Posted by: Linda Falkenmeyer | Feb 12, 2014 16:40

Just paid my March tax bill..Can not wait to see what the new tax bill is going to be..What are these people thinking???Maybe all of us should not pay the new one in Sept...until the board is replaced..What a laughing stock our beautiful city is..




Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Feb 12, 2014 13:05

Wilhelm is laughing, laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Feb 12, 2014 13:03

It's ridiculous to pay anyone that much. Richard, I'm glad you enjoy having your taxes increase every year. Be sure to congratulate the school board when you get your next tax bill.

Posted by: Susan P Reitman | Feb 12, 2014 11:18

The taxpayers are paying the $500.00 a day and for what the grade cards for the schools in RSU-13 are not that good so where is the money going that the homeowners are paying RSU-13 via their real estate tax?  The taxpayers are the only ones who can stop RSU-13 and their spending habits but the majority don't have the stomach to do what is necessary.  As for the poor report card in some of the schools some children do not care about education because the United States is becoming a handout country.  You don't need an education, you don't need to work because you can get food stamps, free health care, etc,  Big Sugar Daddy Government will take care of you because the United States is becoming a Socialist government.  The only thing about Socialist Governments is when they run out of others people money to spend they collapse.

Posted by: Eric Thurston | Feb 12, 2014 08:00

I would like to make $500 a day.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 12, 2014 03:43

It is a good start. Congratulations to all  RSU 13 board members.

Posted by: robert garcia | Feb 11, 2014 22:18

What a farce.

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