April 26, 2018
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Teacher hired for Newport school, Nokomis test scores rise

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

NEWPORT, Maine — Robin Kennedy’s teaching resume is an impressive one, according to Regional School Unit 19 Superintendent William Braun, and Braun certainly took it into consideration in his search for a new science teacher at Sebasticook Middle School.

Kennedy’s credits include work for the Challenger Learning Center in Bangor and at schools in the Queen City, Waterville and Newport.

Braun and the RSU 19 board approved Kennedy’s hiring at a school board meeting on Tuesday night at Nokomis Regional High School.

There was plenty of other good news to discuss as the SAT scores of Nokomis’ students rose 12 percent over the 2010-11 school year from 2009-10.

“Our numbers dropped and put us below the state average,” Braun said. “In order to get off what they call the ‘bad list,’ you’re supposed to show an improvement.”

Nokomis principal Mary Nadeau said the state average rose only 1 percent last year, and Braun said that “its hard to say what that [new average] will actually be with the 12 percent jump.”

Nonetheless, the superintendent and the board are happy with the students’ progress.

“We’re pretty confident in the changes we’ve made in the curriculum and the structure,” Braun said.

Kennedy got her start in the Newport system and has 10 years of teaching under her belt, along with six years of work at the Challenger center.

“Robin’s just a superior teacher, and we’re happy to have her come back,” Braun said. “She’s got her master’s degree in science. She’s very technologically savvy and very experienced in grant writing as well.”

Kennedy’s hiring fills the position vacated when William R. Brooks resigned earlier this summer in the wake of allegations his students viewed Maine Educational Assessment examination questions before taking the test.

The board also will have a couple of positions at Nokomis to fill in the coming weeks as science teacher Allen Richmond resigned to take a job at Jay High School and English teacher Charles McKay will take a job closer to his home in the Old Town area, Braun said.

Braun expects those positions to be filled by next week.

“I’m getting, I’m guessing, 8-10 applications per day,” he said.

The board also approved the hiring of Eric Brown for a social studies position at Sebasticook Middle School.

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