Martha Jacques has been named interim principal at Biddeford High School. Courtesy Photo

BIDDEFORD — Martha Jacques earned the unanimous support of the Biddeford School Committee on Tuesday, May 12, when they appointed her interim principal at Biddeford High School.

“I want to assure students I’ll put my heart and soul into this position,” said Jacques, the director of the school department’s Alternative Pathways Center.

Jacques, who will be the first female to lead the high school, was recommended by Superintendent Jeremy Ray for the interim post following the resignation of current principal, Jeremie Sirois, who is leaving BHS after seven years for a new job as principal at Kennebunk High School. Jacques takes up her new post July 1.

“Martha will be really outstanding,” Ray told the School Committee, in part. “I think she will be someone who can step right in during this difficult time on an interim basis.”

In a memo to the School Committee, Ray said when considering a potential candidate pool and search process, it was clear to him that that Jacques was the best person to lead Biddeford High School.

He said he looked at surveys completed by faculty on the qualities they believe a principal should have. The surveys showed staff prefer a leader who advocates for students and teachers; is visible and present in the building and the community; makes data driven decisions; understands socioeconomic needs of students and encourages innovative strategies to improve outcomes for students.

BHS enrollment is at 767 this school year, according to the Maine Department of Education.

Jacques is an undergraduate of Castleton University in Vermont, and holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maine and a master of science degree in educational leadership from Saint Joseph’s College. She is certified by the state as a building administrator and is a licensed social worker. As well, Jacques is a board member of Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition’s Project Alliance and is involved with Apex Youth Connections, Engine, Heart of Biddeford, and the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.

“I am humbled, honored, and excited to have been chosen to lead Biddeford High School as the interim principal,” said Jacques in a prepared statement. “I am looking forward to building relationships with staff, students, families, and our community and continuing the great work that has been started, and extremely proud to be making history as Biddeford High School’s first female principal.”

Jacques lives in Biddeford with her husband Jon, a long-time teacher. Their son Grady attends Biddeford Intermediate School.

“She’s done an amazing job at past programs,” said School Committee member Rebecca Henry at the Tuesday meeting. “I think she’s doing a great job.”

Ray on Wednesday said all the details and duties included in Jacques’ contract have not been finalized. He said the maximum salary for the position as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement is $112,687.

The School Committee said they would revisit the principal issue  in February.

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