May 30, 2020
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Union 113 board names interim superintendent

Longtime Superintendent Omar Norton will succeed Sara Alberts as Union 113’s top educator when she retires by July 1, school board Chairman Greg Stanley said Friday.

Norton will provide stability to the union’s schools as the Union 113 board of directors searches for Alberts’ permanent replacement and defines the replacement’s responsibilities. Norton will work part time, Stanley said.

“We want to take our time and look at this situation and decide what’s the best fit,” Stanley said Friday.

Superintendent for Union 113 and Millinocket schools since the 2004-05 school year, Alberts announced on Nov. 30 her intention to retire by June 30 to pursue another career. She was the first superintendent to serve the entire Katahdin region, an experiment Union 113 and Millinocket officials have said they have no desire to repeat.

Leaders of East Millinocket, Medway and Millinocket have expressed the desire to have two superintendents in the region, saying that they wanted more individual attention paid to their school systems. Union 113 serves East Millinocket, Medway and Woodville.

The union board has many options, including some its members might not like. It could opt to combine the superintendent’s job with another, such as special education coordinator or principal, Stanley said. It could share superintendents with another school system, or it could consolidate entirely with another school system.

Union leaders will take cues from the Maine Department of Education and the Legislature, Stanley said.

In the meantime, Stanley said, Norton will keep things running and help define the school system. He will earn $400 a day for three-day weeks; $350 a day for four days; and $325 a day for five.

“He will be running the schools plus he has a wealth of knowledge of how other school systems are run,” Stanley said.

Most recently posted as interim superintendent of Union 92, which consists of the schools of Hancock, Lamoine, Mariaville, Otis, Surry, and Trenton, Norton has a vast resume.

During more than 50 years in education, Norton has taught at Lee Academy, worked 17 years for the Maine Department of Education, served four terms in the Legislature as a Republican from Winthrop, and, though it is an incomplete listing, served SADs 43, 50, 58, 67, 26 (twice), 77, 31 (twice), 4, 12 and 29, plus Unions 104 (twice), 107, and 92 (twice).

He also served in the Katahdin region, Stanley said. The board interviewed several candidates from a list given by a Maine school management agency before choosing Norton.

“Omar’s was always one of the names that rose to the top,” Stanley said.

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