HOULTON, Maine — A Hancock County educator will take the helm of SAD 29 this summer and is excited to work with the school board and southern Aroostook area communities to move the district forward, the newly hired superintendent said Thursday.
Mike Hammer, principal of Hancock Grammar School in Hancock, confirmed that he has verbally committed to assume the superintendent’s seat in SAD 29. The district consists of the towns of Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello, and has approximately 1,300 students in four schools.
Hancock Grammar School is part of Regional School Unit 24 in Ellsworth.
Hammer was interviewed for the job during a special board meeting on Feb. 23 and offered the position a short time later.
He said Thursday that the details of his employment are still being worked out and that he has not yet signed a contract, but he expects to work out those details during a visit to Aroostook County next week.
“I expect I’ll begin working up there in June or July,” he said.
The district has been looking for a superintendent since Steve Fitzpatrick resigned last June after being at the helm for six years. Less than a month after his resignation, Fitzpatrick, 55, was named the principal at Belfast Area High School.
Peter Edgecomb of Caribou filled in as interim superintendent until the longtime legislator was re-elected in November.
Raymond Freve of Plymouth was appointed interim superintendent a short time later and will stay on until Hammer takes over.
Hammer said that he had been looking to be superintendent in a district with a certain demographic.
“I wanted something not too big and not too small,” he explained. “And I have heard some great things about Houlton. I have been told it is a nice community with great programs and the community is very supportive of the school. I also liked the school board. I feel they have a vision they want to attain and I am excited to help them achieve it.”
Hammer has 12 years of administrative experience. He has previously served as principal in Winter Harbor and assistant principal in Deer Isle-Stonington.
Hammer’s wife, Julie, is a physical education teacher at Ellsworth High School. They have two children, Callie and Katie, who attend school in Ellsworth.
Hammer said that he is not sure at this point if his wife will move immediately to the area or not.
“We are just going to see how it goes,” he said.