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Superintendent says past year was district's 'finest hour'

Two board members and student representative serve final meeting
By Stephen Betts | Jun 04, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts The RSU 13 Board met June 3. The board gave permission to the Oceanside High School Civil Rights team to paint the crosswalk in front of the main entrance of the school in rainbow colors.

Rockland — The Rockland area school superintendent praised the effort of staff as the 2020-2021 year nears its end.

The Regional School Unit 13 Board also recognized board members serving their final meeting of their terms during the June 3 meeting.

"Safe to say this has been a challenging year," Superintendent John McDonald said about the school year and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. "But in reflection what could have been our darkest hour has been our finest hour."

He said the staff, students, board and parents worked together and kept the schools open throughout the year.

"This is one for the history books," he said.

"We're on the backside and I expect next year to be back to normal," McDonald said.

Assistant Superintendent Steffany Tribou said light can be seen at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. There were peaks in cases in March and following April vacation, but now the numbers across Knox County and the school system continue to fall.

She joked that she has been called the "COVID Czar."

Tribou said 70  percent of the district's staff has been vaccinated against the virus. MaineHealth held vaccination clinics two weeks ago at Oceanside High School in Rockland and Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston. Forty-five percent of high school students have been vaccinated and 24% of middle school students.

MaineHealth will be back next week at both schools to vaccinate additional students 12 and older.

Graduation ceremonies for Oceanside High will be held 2 p.m. June 8 at the Knox County Regional Airport. The rain date is Wednesday, June 9. The caravan will leave the high school at 1 p.m. and proceed to the airport.

This is the second consecutive year the ceremony has been held at the airport in response to the pandemic.

Board members stepping down

Two RSU 13 Board members and the student representative to the board also served their final meeting June 3.

Gerald Weinand of Rockland announced his resignation June 3, after the board voted to hire his wife Rebecca Albright as a kindergarten teacher at South School in Rockland.

State law prohibits a person from serving on a school board if their spouse is employed by the district. Weinand abstained from the vote.

Weinand was elected to the board in 2016 and reelected in 2019. He was chair of the board's finance and facilities committee. During his time on the board, the district undertook and completed major additions and renovations to both the high school and middle school.

The term for his seat runs through November 2022.

The Rockland City Council can appoint a replacement to serve until the November 2021 election. Then, a one-year seat to fill out the term would be on the November 2021 Rockland ballot.

Also serving her final meeting on the board was Thomaston representative Amy Williams-Beers. Williams-Beers did not seek re-election and her term expires this month.

Thomaston's other representative, Mark Lewis, filed papers to seek reelection. He is unopposed and no other candidates are on the ballot.

If no one is elected for Williams-Beers seat, the Thomaston Select Board can appoint a replacement to serve until the next election.

RSU 13 Board Chair Loren Andrews praised Williams-Beers and Weinand for their service. He also praised senior Fiona Charlson for serving this past year as the student representative on the board.

He said in his 14 years on the board, he has not seen a student so committed to serving.

The board also approved the hiring of several staff members.

Colden Golann was hired as principal of Oceanside Middle School. Golann is currently the assistant principal at Belfast Area High School.

He will succeed William Gifford, who is retiring.

Also approved for hiring were Suzanne Aldridge-Peacock for a social studies position at Oceanside High School in Rockland; Tiffany Gillum for a math teacher post at Oceanside High; Britni Spaulding as school counselor at Thomaston Grammar School and Albright as a kindergarten teacher at South School in Rockland.

The board also accepted the resignation of Heather Butler, who is a fifth grade teacher at the South School, effective Aug. 31; and the retirement notice from Oceanside High School school counselor Paula McShane.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Ronald Dyer | Jun 04, 2021 11:05

So does this break  the District even for changing the name of RDHS to Oceanside?

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