BIDDEFORD — On Tuesday, the Biddeford School Committee approved the hiring of Jeremie Sirois, who will take the helm at Biddeford High School on July 1.

Sirois, currently the assistant principal at York High School, was chosen from a pool of 21 applicants to fill the position of current Principal Britton Wolfe.

In February, Wolfe, who became principal in 2007, said that he will retire at the end of the school year for personal and family reasons.

Sirois lives in Biddeford with his wife Laureen and two sons, Landon, 5, and Colton, 2. He is currently serving his eighth year as assistant principal of York High School. Before that, he taught eighth grade language arts at Saco Middle School.

He graduated from the University of New England in 1998, and from Thornton Academy in Saco in 1994.

Sirois was the unanimous choice of the 14-person committee, made up of school staff, parents and students, that reviewed the applicants and interviewed five people, said Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray.

In addition to the interview, committee members went for an on-site visit at York High School and spoke with students, parents, teachers and administrators.

“He came very highly recommended,” said school committee member Lisa Vadnais, who attended the site visit in York. “I think they were sad to lose him, and we’re happy to have him.”

Sirois said he’s happy to be chosen as the new BHS principal.

“I interviewed here with 14 people and it felt like home,” he said. “I haven’t had an interview like that since I interviewed at York High School.”

Sirois said he thinks the biggest strength he brings to the job is “my personality and my ability to build relationships.”

He said he hopes to encourage building stronger relationships between students and teachers, administrators and other staff.

“Kids aren’t going to do well unless they feel they have a relation” with a teacher or staff member, said Sirois. “Kids will do more for people they feel are in their corner.”

In addition to building relationships with students, soon after he starts Sirois will have to start preparing for the next visit of the accreditation organization, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. These visits occur every 10 years.

During the last visit in the 2005-06 school year, BHS didn’t fare well and was put on warning status. Due to changes that were made under the direction of Wolfe, a well as the completion of the $34 million renovation of the high school, BHS was taken off the warning list.

Sirois said he has been through the accreditation process at York High School and working on that issue will be a priority.

Sirois’ wife, who works as an occupational therapist in the Biddeford school system, said she’s also pleased and eager for her husband to begin his new job.

“We’re invested. This is his community,” she said.

After the school committee approved hiring Sirois, he told them, “I wish it was July. I’m ready for the new challenge.”

— Staff Writer Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, Ext. 324 or [email protected].

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