Mt. Ararat Middle School’s interim principal Megan Hayes Teague was named 2021 Maine Assistant Principal of the year Tuesday by the Maine Principals’ Association. Contributed photo

TOPSHAM — Mt. Ararat Middle School’s interim Principal Megan Hayes Teague has been named Assistant Principal of the Year by the Maine Principals’ Association, which represents the state’s K-12 educational leaders.

Hayes Teague was nominated by the school’s former principal, Josh Ottow, who resigned in October. When Ottow left, Teague was named interim principal at Mt. Ararat Middle School, which serves Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham in Maine School Administrative District 75.

“Mrs. Hayes Teague is a true educational leader, one that leverages positive relationships with students and staff to bring innovative changes to her school community,” MPA executive director Holly Couturier states in a news release.

Couturier said Hayes Teague was among more than 20 people nominated for the honor this year. Hayes Teague received the award based on her work as a liaison to the community through programs such as the Parent Academy and revamping the school’s response to behavior issues in the classroom.

“She’s an outside the box thinker,” said MSAD 75 Superintendent Shawn Chabot. “She’s willing to sit down and work with parents and staff to figure out what is in the best interest of a group of students or an individual student and in my mind, that has been consistent in my interactions with her.”

Hayes Teague started at the middle school in 2015. A few years later, she created a volunteer committee of teachers to research and plan for a new way to respond to student behavior. They learned that if a student responds negatively, the student may be saying they didn’t get breakfast or they don’t understand their school work.

“It’s a child trying to communicate to you something that they don’t have the tools for,” Hayes Teague said.

Now teachers can give students the tools to communicate and manage their own behavior.

“You have to be a certain type of person to love this age group — the bridge from being a little kid and an independent kid,” Hayes Teague said.

It’s also not an easy time for parents, who often call her for advice about adolescence. Last school year, Hayes Teague started the Parent Academy to provide resources. The academy offered sessions for parents every other month about issues ranging from anxiety and depression to vaping to creating parental controls on student laptops. The coronavirus pandemic put the program on pause.

Hayes Teague said most people don’t look back fondly on their time in middle school because of all the awkward growing that happens during that time. Students are trying to figure who they are and realizing they have independence and can say “no.”

“I think middle school is about the whole child and I think excluding behavior from that is missing an opportunity to support the whole child,” she said.

Hayes Teague will be honored by the Maine Principals’ Association at the organization’s spring conference on April 29 in Rockport.

“It’s an honor not just for me but for the school, the teachers, the students,” she said. “Without their support and buying into the programs, the programs wouldn’t be successful.”

Holly Couturier, executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association, left, recognized Mt. Ararat Middle School’s interim principal Megan Hayes Teague, right, as Assistant Principal of the Year during a presentation Tuesday over the school intercom. Contributed photo



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