Aucocisco founder retires after nearly three decades

Founder and Head of School Barbara L. Melnick has retired from Aucocisco School and Learning Center in Cape Elizabeth, effective Aug. 15, and John Alexander has been appointed to replace here as director.

Melnick started the school in 1994 to address a lack of educational programs for children who learn differently, according to a press release from the school. “Her extensive background in special education gave her the insight and techniques needed to match each student with a unique learning program, while acting as an advocate for both children and parents,” the release said.

“Finding the key to each person’s learning, seeing his/her pride and the joy that comes when they succeed is what has made special education my life’s work. It has truly been a gift,” Melnick said in the release.

 Alexander’s background includes 30 years of experience in education, particularly literacy, as both a teacher and administrator. His skills encompass psycho-educational assessment, program development, parental guidance, student coaching, teacher training and the development of literacy curricula, according to the Aucocisco board.

“Through his additional expertise as an administrator, we are confident that he will enhance and promote the school’s strategic planning process, long-term vision and mission,” the directors said in a prepared statement.

Yarmouth school program adds educators

WHILDE, a private, holistic, homeschool learning program in Yarmouth, has announced several new hires.



Chris Hazelton, who was a coach at Lincoln Middle School in Portland, will teach sixth and seventh graders. Tiffany Alden, formerly an educator in Freeport-based RSU 5, will teach third to fifth graders. Tania Lempert, who has worked in the Cumberland-North Yarmouth district, will be an Ed Tech III for the sixth to 12th grades. Katie LeGeyt will be an Ed Tech III for grades 3 to 7 after working in the Saco School Department.

Vicar joins Cheverus High School staff


Fr. Kevin Hughes has been assigned to teach theology and assist with campus ministry at Cheverus High School in Portland. Hughes previously served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Portland from August 2020 through August 2021, when he was appointed parochial vicar at St. Thomas More Church in Decatur, Georgia.

“I am thrilled to be back in Portland. When I was here in 2020-21, the pandemic really prevented me from getting to know the school and many other places in and around Portland,” Hughes said in press release. “I am really looking forward to learning and experiencing more of the city and the rest of Maine.”

Grant aids Portland schools STEM program

The Foundation for Portland Public Schools has received a donation from Generac Power Systems to help expand STEM programming through the purchase sets of Bee-Bots for the 10 elementary schools in the district. Bee-Bots are a learning tool to introduce pre-K through second-grade students to basic concepts of coding and help them learn about robotics, sequencing, programming and problem-solving skills.