Thursday, April 17, 2014
READFIELD — The new principals of Maranacook Community High School and of Readfield and Wayne elementary schools have close ties to the area.
Dwayne Conway, the high school principal, is joining Regional School Unit 38 from Winthrop Public Schools, where he was athletic director and dean of students. He lives in Readfield, and his wife teaches fifth grade at Readfield Elementary School.
Jeff Boston, who will lead the elementary schools in Readfield and Wayne, most recently was principal of Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta, but before that he was principal of Hodgkin Middle School and assistant principal of Cony High School in Augusta.
Superintendent Donna Wolfrom said the interview committee that selected Conway was swayed by his concern for students, which was not as strong among other candidates, and his investment in the school district, considering that his two young children are just starting at Readfield Elementary.
"We felt that he had a personal stake in what happens at the high school and was really committed to the high school as a resident," Wolfrom said.
Wolfrom said Conway will lead the high school through projects such as implementing Common Core curriculum standards, transitioning to proficiency-based diplomas and working with new iPads for every student.
Conway said he's excited about working in the community where he lives and was attracted by what he said is a philosophy of shared leadership at the high school among administrators and staff.
He said he looks forward to developing stronger connections between the high school and Maranacook Community Middle School, which is on the same property, and working with teachers on peer observations to help everyone improve.
"I want us to be a learning organization," he said. "I think we have to be continually sharpening the saw, and that's one of the most effective ways to do it."
Conway will succeed Carol Fritz, who resigned when she learned that her contract would not be renewed.
The Winthrop school board voted last week to accept Conway's resignation and hire Chris Moreau, previously assistant principal and athletic director of Dirigo High School in Dixfield, as his replacement.
Boston's time will be split between Readfield Elementary and Wayne Elementary 70 percent to 30 percent, respectively. He said he applied to the job in RSU 38 to have a shorter commute from Augusta, where he and his wife live with their three children, and because of the reputation of RSU 38.
"The community in general is very supportive of their schools and wants the best for their kids," he said.
RSU 38's work is similar to that at Great Salt Bay, a K-8 school. Boston said one of the things he'll be working on is the adoption of a new writing program.
Wolfrom said Boston's experience with that writing program appealed to the interview committee.
"Jeff was the last candidate we interviewed, and we were so impressed with his knowledge about elementary schools and his caring for students," Wolfrom said. "We just felt that it was a terrific fit."
Boston is filling the vacancy left by the retirement of Cheryl Hasenfus.
Conway and Boston are the latest additions to an administrative team that has changed significantly since spring.
The school board voted earlier this year to create the position of director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, with responsibility for overseeing Common Core implementation, gifted and talented education, No Child Left Behind accountability and educational plans for students with disabilities.
"A lot of it is work that wasn't getting done," Wolfrom said. "There wasn't anybody that was leading the effort and coordinating, so it was really piecemeal."
The district's choice for the position, Nancy Harriman, was principal of Fisher Mitchell School in Bath and has also worked as director of instruction in Bath and principal of two elementary schools in Fryeburg-based RSU 72.
The new director of adult and community education, Steve Vose, has been meeting with different groups in the district since he started in April, trying to determine what types of classes people would be interested in taking, Wolfrom said.
He's also trying to get students who have started taking GED tests to finish them. When new tests are rolled out in January, anyone seeking a high school equivalency certificate will lose previous test results and have to start over.
Susan McMillan — 621-5645