LIMESTONE, Maine — Officials of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics have named an acting executive director for the 2010-2011 school year. Dr. Michael Sonntag, the vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, will serve in the part-time position for the coming year as the nationally rec-ognized public high school conducts a search for a permanent executive director.
Sonntag will take on leadership duties at MSSM, be its public spokesman and serve as its primary contact with relevant state officials, according to a press release from the school. He will retain his duties at UMPI as he undertakes this role.
“He already knows what an educational treasure MSSM is, which will enable him not only to tell our story across the state but also to help us as we build on our success by considering new initiatives,” said David Haines, chairman of the MSSM board of trustees.
MSSM and UMPI have partnered in many ways, according to the release.
UMPI’s president has filled a statutory role of membership on the MSSM board of trustees; UMPI faculty have taught courses at MSSM; MSSM students have taken courses at UMPI; and UMPI has provided library, cultural and recreational facilities for MSSM students.
“I am honored to have been asked to serve in this leadership capacity at MSSM and I am looking forward to taking on these duties later this month,” Sonntag said. “Having worked closely with MSSM in the last three years to enhance collaborations between the two schools, I have a very good understanding of the school’s ad-ministrative needs and how I can be most helpful moving the school forward during this temporary appointment.”
Sonntag will be released from some duties at UMPI to take on the role at MSSM. Under the agreement between the two schools, MSSM will pay UMPI a lump sum both to compensate Sonntag for his services and to cover the cost of carrying out some of his UMPI responsibilities in his absence.
Sonntag has served as UMPI’s vice president for academic affairs since 2007. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Baylor University in 1989, and obtained a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Arkansas. He also taught and served as chair-man of his department at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., before accepting his current position at UMPI.
Sonntag lives in Mapleton with his wife, Jennifer, who serves as the chief financial officer of Maine Potato Growers in Presque Isle, and their children, Greyson and Sarah.
The Maine School of Science and Mathematics, established 15 years ago, is Maine’s first and only statewide public residential high school. Its graduates have been accepted to some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and it consistently has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the 100 finest public high schools in the country.