WHITEFIELD — The Regional School Unit 12 school board has hired an interim superintendent to succeed outgoing Superintendent Greg Potter.

The board’s unanimous choice, Alan Hawkins, retired in 2010 as superintendent of Cape Elizabeth School Department, but before that he led the schools in Wiscasset, RSU 12’s largest town.

Board Chairwoman Hilary Holm said Hawkins is focused on providing excellent education to RSU 12 students and may be able to help mend some fences in Wiscasset and Westport Island, which are both seeking to withdraw from the school district.

“My understanding was he got out in the town a lot in the years that he was there, making it very transparent what the schools were doing and garnering community support for the schools,” Holm said.

From 2002 to 2005, Hawkins was superintendent of Wiscasset’s school department, which also educated students from Alna and Westport Island because the two towns do not have their own schools. All three towns joined Chelsea, Palermo, Somerville, Whitefield and Windsor in 2009 to form RSU 12.

Holm said school staff in Wiscasset spoke very highly of Hawkins and his leadership.

Hawkins, 64, will work in RSU 12 for up to a year while the school board searches for a permanent superintendent to replace Potter, who is leaving to become superintendent of Newport-based RSU 19.

Hawkins’ contract provides a $109,000 salary, Holm said.

Hawkins lives in South Portland, where his wife is an elementary school principal. He led an elementary school and then a middle school there from 1985 to 2002.

He said that after taking a break following his retirement from Cape Elizabeth schools, he decided to see where temporary superintendents were needed and was pleased to find an opening in RSU 12.

Hawkins said he looks forward to working on programs such as Maine Schools for Excellence, in which RSU 12 and four other districts are creating performance-based evaluation and compensation systems for staff.

At the same time, Westport Island and Wiscasset will soon begin negotiating with RSU 12 to withdraw from the school district. Hawkins said his role will involve sharing financial and other information with the negotiating committees.

“For me, it’ll mean communication with the people and sharing information with them and hoping it’ll help them make some wise decisions,” Hawkins said.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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