BATH, Maine — Jay Pinkerton says when he noticed an ad seeking a new principal at Morse High School back in December, he saw it as a calling.
He recalls tossing the newspaper on the table and saying as much to his wife, Kathy. The Lincoln Academy headmaster applied for the position, and last month, he learned that he was hired for position.
Pinkerton was an administrator at Lincoln Academy for 17 years — the last seven as headmaster — and begins his new job Aug. 1. He succeeds Peter Kahl, who had been principal at Morse for six years and announced his resignation at the end of last school year.
“I feel good about this,” Pinkerton said. “I’m ready for a new start. When you’ve been at the same place for 17 years, that’s a long time. I’m very excited about going to Morse.”
Patrick Manuel, Regional School Unit 1 superintendent, said the search committee conducted two rounds of interviews. The committee also visited Lincoln Academy before the full board approved Pinkerton as Morse principal.
Manuel said he and the committee saw accountability and character as two of Pinkerton’s strong points. “We’re really impressed with his interpersonal skills, and his ability to lead a school,” he said.
Pinkerton, a Dover-Foxcroft native, earned his undergraduate degree in earth science/chemistry from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1978. He got his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Maine.
Pinkerton moved back home when Kathy took a teaching position at Foxcroft Academy in 1981. He began teaching at Foxcroft four years later and remained there until 1996, when he became associate head of school at Lincoln. He was named Assistant Principal of the Year in 2003.
The Pinkertons live in New Harbor, and Kathy Pinkerton will remain a teacher at Lincoln Academy.
Jay Pinkerton said he has some knowledge of Woolwich because some of that town’s students go to Lincoln.
“I’ve got to get to know the Bath community better,” he said. “It’s a neat little city.”
Pinkerton also appreciates going to a school that has such a sense of tradition.
“They’ve got a great alumni association,” he said. “That’s one of the things I find intriguing. There’s a lot of pride in the school.”
Kahl, who lives across the street from Morse, said he decided to leave about a year ago, after his partner died. He wanted an international position, and got it — in Seoul, South Korea.
“I leave on Aug. 1. It’s pretty exciting,” Kahl said. “I have a three-year contract as director of curriculum, and becoming principal.”
Kahl said he enjoyed his tenure at Morse. “There’s something very special about this school and the tradition that goes with it,” he said.
Manuel said Morse will miss Kahl, who helped the school make great strides with its curriculum.
“I’ve enjoyed working with him,” Manuel said. “He brought in some new and innovative programs to Morse.”