Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 18, 2017
Union 76 director moves on to passion job
by Monique Labbe
After four years, Union 76 Special Education Director OJ Logue has resigned from the position, effective May 26.
Logue is leaving the union to pursue a job as the Executive Director of the Maine Education Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Falmouth.
As someone who started life unable to hear or speak, the work he will be doing at the school is something Logue feels very strongly about.
“When I was younger, it wasn’t yet a right for deaf and hard of hearing kids to go to school,” said Logue. “My parents advocated every day for me.”
Logue overcame those challenges and received a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. He has held positions as a professor at the University of Maine in Orono and teaching positions in Massachusetts. When he took his current job with Union 76, Logue said he was hired on for only a year, to help the union transition its department after the former director left.
“They didn’t have anybody in my position for eight months, and these kids were going without any services,” he said.
Logue came in and worked hard to get the program back on track, even taking on an audit process his first few months in the position.
“That was a difficult challenge,” he said. “But I had a great administrative assistant, and we received really good feedback from that audit.”
Logue decided to stay on in a permanent capacity, and over the last four years he has brought services to the union that did not exist in the schools before him.
“I think my biggest success here was bringing services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology and counseling services into the schools. Parents had to transport their kids to Ellsworth or Blue Hill or Bangor to receive these services, and that presented challenges for a lot of families. By bringing it to the schools it allowed families to have access to those services right there,” he said.
Another thing Logue is proud of is the trust he has developed with the parents of the students receiving special education services.
“I think there was a severe amount of trust lacking between the department and the families,” he said. “I really think I have been able to grow that trust with the families. Parents feel more comfortable about the services their kids are receiving, and they know that I, along with the staff, are doing everything we can for their kids.”
As Logue gets ready to begin a new chapter of his life, he is thankful for the time he has spent working closely with the staff and students within the union.
“It feels like the right time,” said Logue of his decision. “[MECDH] has been trying to recruit me for several years, but this time it feels right. I have loved the staff here, and the great community I have been able to live in for the last four years. I am moving toward the last years of my career, and I think this opportunity has come at the right time.”
Logue said that finding an interim director is in the works.