News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 8, 2017
CSD 13 looks at new administration model

by Monique Labbe

With the 2017-18 budget passed, the CSD 13 board is now turning its attention to the district’s administrative needs.

Union 76 Superintendent Chris Elkington and board chairman Jane Osborne met with parents, community members and staff on May 31 to discuss the needs of the schools, as well as the potential for a new administrative structure moving forward.

One parent addressed the need for more consistent supervision in the schools on a daily basis, as behavioral problems have been an issue in the district.

“It isn’t a secret that one of the biggest needs in our schools is a way to address the behaviors here,” said Amy Vaughn. “There needs to be support in place to deal with those things.”

In the current model, each school has one principal, with an assistant principal operating between the two schools. The assistant principal, ideally, handles the behavior issues; however, because that position requires the individual to be in two places, it leaves each place without that support for several hours a day.

Another issue Elkington said has been brought to him by staff is that right now, the principals are bogged down with paperwork, assessments, meetings, etc., making it difficult for them to be active in the day-to-day goings on at their respective schools.

One solution Elkington brought up was to change the administrative structure in the district, to a model that would have a Head of Schools type of position in charge of the assessments, evaluations and other administrative tasks. This would allow two associate principals, one at each school, to have their hands free to be more involved in the day-to-day workings of their schools and be more of a support for the teachers.

What this new model would cost is unclear, but it is something that Elkington will look into.

Elkington brought this idea to the regular meeting of the CSD 13 board on June 6, along with a timeline for hiring new administrators, as the district will be without a principal at the elementary school and an assistant principal as of July 1. The board tabled further discussion of a new administrative model until the July meeting, but Osborne told Elkington to continue looking into the process, as a “change is certainly needed, it seems.”

Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School principal Carla Magoon, who will step down from the position but stay with the school in a teaching capacity, noted that having John Dow as an assistant principal at the elementary school has been “phenomenal,” but that having to share him between two schools was problematic.

“Some times the kids would want to come talk to him because they were having an issue and he wasn’t there, and that inconsistency didn’t work,” said Magoon. “I agree that it would be good to have someone in each school at all times.”

Board members approved the administrator search timeline, with a deadline for applications on June 19. The board scheduled a special board meeting at 2 p.m. on June 20 to review community and staff feedback, discuss the interview structure, and possibly select three individuals to interview for each position. Round one of the interview process is scheduled for June 27, with the final round on July 6. Ideally, new administrators will be appointed at the July 13 board meeting.