Schools in Freeport, Pownal and Durham will have a new superintendent in September. The directors of Regional School Unit 5 voted unanimously Wednesday night to offer a three-year contract to Edward McDonough, who is currently the superintendent in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

McDonough, who lives in Wells, will be paid a starting annual salary of $120,000, said Nelson Larkins, chairman of RSU 5’s board of directors.

McDonough was superintendent of the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District for seven years before taking over in Portsmouth in 2009. He worked in the Wells-Ogunquit district for 24 years, as a teacher, coach, high school principal and assistant superintendent.

The decision to hire McDonough, effective Sept. 1, ends the search to replace Shannon Welsh.

Welsh, who was the first superintendent of the regional school unit, retired in June. She was replaced by interim co-superintendents Michael Lafortune and William Michaud.

McDonough will start working in the district in August, but his contract won’t take effect until September, Larkins said.

A 12-member committee made up of residents, teachers, administrators and board members conducted a national search for a superintendent. The committee received 26 applications and interviewed six candidates before narrowing the field to four finalists.

“Ed McDonough is an outstanding educator and experienced administrator,” Larkins said in a statement posted on the school district’s website. “We are confident that his leadership will move RSU 5 forward to even higher levels of achievement.”

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]