PORTLAND, Maine — Susan Joakim has been selected as the new director of the Portland Public Schools’ West Program, which serves about 40 students with a variety of special education needs.
Joakim has served since 2012 as a special education team leader for Portland Public Schools. She has 15 years of experience working with special education students with all types of disabilities.
While working in Biddeford, Joakim successfully designed and implemented an all-school behavior program that reduced the number of behavior plans needed for students from 75 to five in a single year. She later developed the KidsShine program for the Kennebunk schools that received a WCSH6 Schools that Shine award.
The West Program, which has been located since late February in the former Cathedral Grammar School in downtown Portland, is moving this fall to the former Sampson D. Plummer School in Falmouth. Parents and students will have an opportunity to meet Joakim at an open house from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 3, at the new school.
“Susan Joakim is an energetic and creative leader who will help us reinvigorate the West Program,” said Sharon Pray, the district’s director of student support services, in a press statement.
Joakim holds bachelor’s degrees in speech communications and education and a master’s in special education. She is enrolled in a doctorate program for special education.