BOWDOIN CENTRAL SCHOOL’S George Jenkins is pictured with school secretary Karen Mayo, who as he approaches retirement, said he couldn’t have done his job without. They are shown near artwork that hangs near the entrance of the school.

BOWDOIN CENTRAL SCHOOL’S George Jenkins is pictured with school secretary Karen Mayo, who as he approaches retirement, said he couldn’t have done his job without. They are shown near artwork that hangs near the entrance of the school.

BOWDOIN

After 21 years, George Jenkins is retiring as principal of Bowdoin Central School at the end of the school year. He started as principal at the town’s former elementary school in the spring of 1994 and the current school opened in fall of 2002. An educator for 35 years, he says he has no immediate plans following his retirement, though next winter he and his wife may travel somewhere warm.

Times Record: What does a “normal” day at school look like for you?

George Jenkins: A “normal” day for me is anything but normal. I think that is what I like best about this job. Every day is different. I generally start the day with some kind of a meeting either with parents, teachers, or both before school begins. I always try to be available to meet the buses every morning to greet the children, it is one of my favorite times of the day. I then spend the next hour dealing with the business of the morning, an email, a bus issue or some other issue that routinely comes to the school.

Each morning I deliver the “daily bulletin” to all of the staff which allows me to visit every classroom teacher and to touch base with support staff on a daily basis. I believe this is important so that I am visible, approachable and able to get a sense of what each and everyone’s classroom is like on a daily basis. During lunch and recess I am usually on the playground or in the lunch room to help supervise the children. After lunch I am back at my desk for a short time answering emails before I head out to a classroom to do an observation or to meet with teachers as they discuss children’s progress.

At the end of the day I am always out front helping to dismiss the children to the buses in an orderly and safe way. After the children leave I usually am involved in some kind of meeting or another. I also usually average about one evening meeting per week.

TR: What programs or traditions have you seen or helped instill at Bowdoin Central School you leave most proud of?

GJ: There are several things that have been instituted at Bowdoin Central since I have been here. Three come to mind as being most satisfying: The first was the introducing of the KinderStart Program which was the precursor to our allday kindergarten. The second is the Aspirations Program that encourages kids in the upper elementary grades to explore options for higher education. The third is pairing of our fifth grade students and our kindergarten students for “lunch buddies” which makes for a great sense of community within our school.

TR: What do you find is the most challenging aspect of being a principal and why?

GJ: Perhaps the most challenging part of being a principal in a small school is trying to balance all the requirements that the federal and state governments have put in place over the last several years while maintaining the normal day to day operation of the school.

There are so many initiatives and demands today that I worry about the ability of the staff to keep all those balls in the air and still do a great job with our children.

TR: What do you think you will miss the most and why?

GJ: I will miss the day to day interaction with children and staff the most. We have incredible kids here and we have an outstanding staff that always puts the needs of our students first. I could not have landed in a better place than Bowdoin Central School. The community has been so supportive and has trusted us to do the right thing by their students.

I have also been blessed to have the best school secretary in the state, Karen Mayo. I could not have done my job without her! I also could not have worked with a more dedicated group of administrators than those here in MSAD 75. I have also been very fortunate to work with both (former and current superintendents) Mike Wilhelm and Brad Smith who have allowed me the flexibility to be successful here at Bowdoin Central.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention our Director of Special Education, Patrick Moore, who always seems to find a way to help those children who have learning issues succeed in school.

TR: What are the biggest educational hurdles you see facing elementary schools in MSAD 75 in the near future?

GJ: I think there are several hurdles facing MSAD 75 today that I hope can be overcome. As I stated previously, the requirements by federal and state government are overwhelming right now. That, coupled with the tightening of budgets, put us in a very difficult position to increase test scores and provide for the successful operation of a school.


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