Bangor school leader named Maine’s top superintendent

Posted Oct. 24, 2012, at 9:54 a.m.
Betsy Webb
Betsy Webb

BANGOR, Maine — The leader of Bangor’s school system has been named 2013 Superintendent of the Year by the Maine School Superintendents’ Association.

Superintendent Betsy Webb was recognized Wednesday morning during the organization’s annual meeting in Augusta.

“I see this award as recognition for the entire Bangor School Department,” Webb said prior to the official award announcement on Wednesday. “From our students to the administrators, faculty and staff, everyone deserves recognition.”

Bangor School Committee Chairwoman Phyllis Guerette said she nominated Webb for the award in part because of how much Webb has been able to help the school district accomplish in spite of about $5.5 million in funding cuts over the past four years.

“I’ve been saying for a long time that I think [Webb] is the best superintendent in the state,” Guerette said, adding that she was pleased to learn that a group of Webb’s peers confirmed her belief. “Her accomplishments in the past four years have been pretty amazing.”

The award is given based on a superintendent’s leadership in education, community involvement, professionalism and fiscal management.

Despite funding cuts, Webb has kept the school system’s budget flat, making difficult cuts and reductions when necessary, while maintaining quality education, Guerette said. She also credited the superintendent for her “visionary leadership” of the system’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy.

“She’s the whole package, and we’re lucky to have that here in Bangor,” Guerette said.

In September, Webb received the MSSA Outstanding Leadership Award for her work to improve student learning.

School administrators, former school committee members and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins lauded Webb’s work in a press release.

“I have personally witnessed Betsy working with an individual student and family, giving hours of her time, in an attempt to keep that student in school and on track to graduate,” United Technologies Center Director Fred Woodman said in the press release. “Betsy is not only an outstanding leader in education, but also a truly exceptional woman.”

“Betsy is a rare blend of a systems thinker and field general who is equally formidable in philosophical discussion about the direction of education in America as she is in an analysis of how to lead a teacher or student to new levels of performance,” wrote Bangor High School Principal Paul Butler.

Webb said she has enjoyed brainstorming with administrators and teachers about federal standards and how to come up with “Bangor solutions,” hearing from students who have gotten into their top-choice university, and even working with students and their families after a student “makes a mistake” to be sure the student can get back on track with their education.

“It’s the total sum of all the individual efforts and successes that makes me passionate about this career every day,” Webb said. “I find inspiration in our students and they give me hope. They are so talented and they want to make a positive difference in the world.”

“Bangor is blessed to have so many dedicated educators and talented students and I am honored to work with all of them,” the superintendent said.

The Bangor School Committee plans to recognize Webb during its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

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