August 29, 2011

Area schools announce new projects, staff changes

Here's a roundup of the school start dates and what's new in area school districts:


Biddeford High School students return to an ongoing $34 million renovation project, to be completed by August 2012, said Superintendent Sarah-Jane Poli. Crews will be working in some classrooms this fall before moving on to renovate the cafeteria and gym. Budget cuts eliminated some programs and 23 positions, so school libraries won't be staffed every day.


The district has a new superintendent, Patrick Phillips, and Dayton Consolidated School has a new principal, Cheryl Frechette. In Old Orchard, old windows and asbestos floor tiles have been replaced at Loranger Middle School, and bleachers are being replaced at the high school's athletic field.


The Middle School of the Kennebunks is being weatherized, including new roofing, and asbestos floor tiles are being replaced at Kennebunk High School, said Superintendent Andrew Dolloff. Susan Cressey is the new high school principal, Ryan Quinn is the new principal of Kennebunk Elementary School and Sara Zito is now the district's assistant superintendent.


In addition to having a new superintendent, George Entwistle III, the district is launching a new elementary math program, which will be overseen by a new math specialist, Amy Colton. The district also will be preparing for a November referundum on a proposal to replace the aging Wentworth Intermediate School.


In addition to having a new superintendent, Meredith Nadeau, the district has hired Jane Golding to be director of instructional support. New boilers have been installed in the high school's heating plant and administrators have begun working on efforts to improve literacy and develop professional learning communities at each school.


Superintendent Suzanne Godin has several new players on her administrative team, including a new assistant superintendent, Kathryn Germani; a new high school principal, James Holland; a new principal and assistant principal of Mahoney Middle School, Carrie Stilphen and George Conant, respectively; and a new assistant principal at Memorial Middle School, Stephen Chabot. The district is launching a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum at the renamed Kaler Community School of Inquiry and Exploration, and introducing a science-based inquiry program at the middle schools. Committees are working on plans for a $47.3 million high school renovation and expansion, to begin in 2012.


The district looked outside the state to find its two new principals. Deborah Migneault, previously of Dover High School in New Hampshire, and Jeanne Malia, previously of Los Angeles, have been named principals at Portland High School and Riverton Elementary School, respectively. Over the summer, Presumpscot, Lyseth and Peaks Island elementary schools also installed new energy-efficient windows, which will keep the classrooms significantly warmer in winter.


In the district's central office, former high school Principal Marc Gousse has become superintendent, replacing Reza Namin, who took a job in Massachusetts. Former Canal School Principal Jeremy Ray has become director of operations. Replacing Gousse is Thomas O'Malley, who was a principal in New Hampshire. Teacher Vickie Hebert is stepping in as interim principal at Canal. Saccarappa School has a new boiler, paid for with federal stimulus money, and the high school track has been resurfaced. The one educational program eliminated this year was virtual high school, which allowed students to take online courses not offered at the school.


Starting this year, the district's three elementary schools will serve kindergarten through fifth grade. Jane Esty, who was assistant principal of Village Elementary School, will be principal of the new Great Falls Elementary School, a $15.8 million project replacing the White Rock School, which closed in June. The district has a new athletic director, Tim Spear, who came from the Massabesic school district in Waterboro. Spear is replacing Gerry Durgin, who resigned to work for the Maine Principals' Association.

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