BELFAST, Maine — The new principal at Belfast Area High School has years of administration and teaching experience in Aroostook County, and said this week that he intends to support the students and staff at the high school.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, 55, officially was confirmed Tuesday night at the Regional School Unit 20 board of directors meeting.
“Although I learned a tremendous amount at the superintendent level … I enjoy working with students,” the Aroostook County native said Tuesday after the meeting to explain why he wanted to return to working directly with students.
He said he resigned his most recent position, as SAD 29 superintendent in Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello, to take the Belfast position that had come open in June when longtime Principal Butch Arthers took a job at Lee Academy.
RSU 20 Superintendent Bruce Mailloux said the search committee hadn’t been certain it would be able to find a good candidate this summer.
“He bubbled right to the top,” the superintendent said. “I think he’s going to fit in very well. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s a listener. He’s not an impulsive-type person. Everybody on the committee felt like he was a strong, strong person. He’s a calm guy. I think he’s going to be good.”
Fitzpatrick worked six years as the SAD 29 principal, served as the principal for 10 years at Hodgdon High School, and has worked as a teacher, coach and athletic director. He played basketball at the University of Maine in the 1970s, he said.
He said he was looking forward to supporting the directors and administration as they bring together the two former school districts — SADs 56 and 34 — that make up the new regional school unit.
“I do not know the strengths and weaknesses at BAHS,” he said. “I do not know all of the answers. It will be a learning and collaborative process.”
So far, Fitzpatrick said, everybody he has met at the school has been “very positive and very upbeat.”
“The staff at the high school is a very tight-knit, professional group,” he said. Fitzpatrick said he had been interested in moving from Linneus to the Belfast area in part to be closer to his own children and grandchildren, who now live in Bangor, North Yarmouth and Lewiston.
“It will give us more opportunities to engage as a family,” he said.