Bangor schools superintendent lauded at ceremony, receives key to the city

Posted Nov. 15, 2012, at 10:02 p.m.
Betsy M. Webb
Betsy M. Webb

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor School Committee, political representatives, city officials, school administrators and members of the public commended superintendent Betsy Webb for her recent selection as Maine Superintendent of the Year during a ceremony Thursday night.

City Council Chairman Nelson Durgin, who was tapped to lead the council on Wednesday, presented Webb with the key to the city.

Webb received the nod from the Maine School Superintendents Association in October.

“I am truly humbled by this recognition, your kind words, and your attendance this evening,” Webb said to the attendees, who packed the City Council Chambers. By the end of the proceedings, more than 20 speakers stepped up to offer their congratulations and thanks to Webb.

Speakers credited her with maintaining quality education results in a persistently difficult fiscal climate, as well as her work toward improving graduation rates and her “visionary leadership” of the system’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy.

“Through her careful fiscal management, we have maintained the core Bangor educational experience for our students and have never wavered from our goal of academic excellence for all students,” said Phyllis Guerette, school committee chairwoman, adding that Webb was a “poised and polished spokesperson” for Bangor’s schools.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins recorded a video message to congratulate Webb on her achievement.

“This recognition is a fitting tribute to Betsy’s total commitment to education, community involvement, professionalism and sound management,” Collins said.

Statements from Sen. Olympia Snowe, Rep. Mike Michaud, Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen, and members of Maine’s Legislative delegation were read aloud during the ceremony.

Webb said the award is a reflection of the accomplishments of everyone involved in the school district — from the administrators and teachers to the students and their parents.

Maine School Management Association Executive Director Dale Douglas, who also was representing the Maine School Superintendents Association, said that while he appreciated the sentiment of Webb crediting the rest of the district, the MSSA gave the award based on personal accomplishment.

“This is about an award for individual leadership, this is being chosen by a committee of her peers … We need to realize this is really about what you’ve done,” Douglas said.

Douglas also said that this is the second time that two superintendents from the same school district have received the superintendent of the year — the first was Auburn’s school department. The other Bangor superintendent to win the award was James Doughty, who retired in 2000.

In their statements, both Guerette and school committee member Warren Caruso cited the same Aristotle quote: ““We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

“Superintendent Webb has the habit of excellence in everything she does,” Guerette said.

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