Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, August 10, 2017
Witham takes the reins at the Island schools
by Monique Labbe
With both principal positions filled, Lynne Witham has been hired as the Deer Isle-Stonington Head of Schools to round out the administrative team for the island school district.
Witham has been a part of the district since last year, taking over as director of the adult education program during the fall of the 2016-17 school year. In that position, Witham was able to rejuvenate the program and offer several different types of courses. That experience, as well as her experience as a teacher, programs coordinator, consultant and counselor in her 20-year plus career, has given her the tools she needs to take on the responsibilities of her new position.
“I think all of these pieces have given me the ability to do this job,” said Witham. “I look forward to working in a student-based structure and getting to know these students.”
Witham said the Island students and the community make the school district unique, and that the way the school operates should be a reflection of that.
“It’s an interesting dynamic because the people in the community are very dependent on each other because of how small the area is, but then they’re also very independent because even though there’s a bridge, they operate in the mindset of living on an island,” she said.
In her role, Witham will be able to take the time to work with local organizations to partner with them in various programs in the school, including continuing work with the Island Medical Center to combat the opioid crisis, and with the fishing and arts community for the pathways programs.
“We’re in a position where the community really wants to be involved in the schools, and it’s my job to collaborate and make that happen,” she said.
In addition to collaborating with the community, Witham will oversee curriculum planning, professional development and creating immediate and longterm goals for each school. The handling of these tasks will give the building principals more time to focus on the day-to-day operations of their respective schools. This dynamic, said Witham, will allow for a more fluid collaboration among the administrators.
“I think the real benefit is the teamwork part of it,” she said. “We’ll be able to work together to bring in different ideas and resources and make things operate as smoothly as possible.”
Witham will continue as the director of the adult education program, something she has been passionate about since taking over the program last year, but will have help overseeing the day-to-day operations.