June 19, 2018
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Rockland-area school district hires new superintendent

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland-area school board tapped an assistant superintendent in a nearby district to be its next superintendent.

John McDonald, who serves as curriculum coordinator for Regional School Unit 20 based in Belfast, was unanimously hired Thursday night to be RSU 13’s next superintendent.

The search for a new superintendent proceeded rapidly. The board received eight applications in May for the position.

McDonald will begin his job on Aug. 1. He received a two-year contract, being paid $104,000 in the first year.

He has been assistant superintendent in Belfast since 2009, director of curriculum and instruction from 2007 through 2009, and prior to that, he was assistant principal at the Troy A. Howard Middle School in Belfast. He also had been principal of the Morse Memorial School in Brooks.

The district has had two interim superintendents since Superintendent Lew Collins resigned in February citing a lack of support from the school board. He and some administrators had been at odds over his management style and some of his decisions.

Leon Levesque began as interim superintendent on July 1, succeeding interim Superintendent Michael Wilhelm who took over after Collins’ departure.

The hiring comes after the departure of seven administrators in the past six months. Some of those positions were filled Thursday night.

The board also hired Peter Orne as business manager, succeeding Scott Vaitones, whose contract was not renewed.

Renee Thompson was hired as principal of Oceanside East High School in Rockland, succeeding Principal Tom Forti. Thompson will begin work in August. She has been principal of Ellsworth High School for the past five years.

Thompson said she was looking forward to the next chapter in her life and said she was impressed with work being done by the faculty.


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