SAD 53 seeking new superintendent

Posted Dec. 11, 2011, at 5:55 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 12, 2011, at 3:22 a.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — After serving 10 years as the superintendent of SAD 53, Michael Gallagher will retire at the end of the school year.

“I’ve reached the age,” said Gallagher, 58, of Hartland. “I really came to the realization that it was the right time to do it. I’ve got 35 years in and decided I would like to retire.”

The SAD 53 school board announced during the Dec. 5 meeting its intention to form a committee to search for a new superintendent. SAD 53 serves the towns of Burnham, Detroit and Pittsfield.

The committee will be made up of three school board members, two administrators, an elected official from each town in the district, the head of school at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, three teachers, with one an SAD 53 Education Association member, and three parents.

Gallagher’s tenure will end on June 30, 2012.

“It’s a great district, one that I’ve really felt a great deal of gratitude toward and helped make better,” said Gallagher on Sunday. “I’ll certainly miss the people. That was always the case whenever you leave a position. I’ve enjoyed my seat tremendously.”

Gallagher taught in SAD 53 as a third-grade teacher at Dorothy R. Cookson Elementary School in Detroit in 1977. He also taught at Pittsfield Grammar School and Vickery Elementary School before becoming assistant principal at Dexter Middle School for two years. He became principal of a Waterville’s Albert S. Hall School for nine years before returning to SAD 53, where he was the principal for three schools for four years. He was hired as the superintendent on an interim basis before landing the job on a full-time basis in 2002.

He spoke fondly of some of his accomplishments during his time as superintendent.

“Probably my legacy will end up being centered around the budget,” said Gallagher. “Over the number of years, we have maintained a budget that was very favorable for the taxpayers without substantial cuts.”

Gallagher said grants he was able to obtain also helped improve aging school buildings.

“Almost $4 million in upgrades were used for Warsaw and Vickery schools, as well as the Burnham Village School when it was still open. Through those projects we were able to make for a better environment with better air quality,” he said.

He said he’s looking forward to retired life.

“I’m actually going to take next summer off. I have a daughter that is going to be married in September,” said Gallagher. “I live on a lake and haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy it like I will be able to do.”

Gallagher still has more than six months left at his position, and he said he is focused on his remaining goals.

“There is much work to do during the remainder of this school year toward the realization of the district’s mission and vision for providing excellence in education for the children of MSAD 53,” Gallagher said in his retirement letter to the board. “I remain committed to these goals and stand ready to assist the board in anyway that is deemed necessary to employ an excellent new superintendent.”

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