AUGUSTA — The handful of people attending a community meeting to discuss the city’s next schools superintendent Thursday night were far outnumbered by school board members looking for input.

School board members circulated at an informal meeting at Cony High School to get the public’s thoughts on the state of the city’s school department and what qualities to seek in the next superintendent.

“We find that people get uncomfortable trying to step up to a microphone,” said board Chairwoman Susan Campbell. “We wanted them to mingle and have conversations.”

Another event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Cony.

Ward 2 member Deborah Towle, who is leading the search for a successor to Cornelia Brown, said they have already had meetings with school employees to get their input.

“They’re looking for someone who’s a strong communicator, who will be a strong leader in curriculum and finance and education.”

Michelle Morgan, who has two children in Augusta schools, agreed.

“Communication is the biggest thing for me,” Morgan said. “It’s what makes the world go ’round.”

Morgan said she has requested, but has not received a face-to-face meeting to talk about her son, a Cony freshman, not being allowed to get off the bus at the stop she thinks would be safest.

Brown is leaving at the end of December to become executive director at the Maine School Management Association. Campbell said “plan A” is to find someone quickly and have them start Jan. 1, but it’s likely the board will need to hire an interim superintendent for the remainder of the school year.

Stephanie Connors, a special education teacher and mother of two, said she hopes the board will hire an interim to give them plenty of time to find the right person.

Connors said she wants a superintendent who will work collaboratively with teachers, supporting their professional development and drawing on their knowledge and experience. Connors also wants a strong focus on improving academic achievement.

“I think it’s really important to have someone who’s going to bring fresh ideas to Augusta and a new vision,” she said.

Connors said she thinks Maine schools will face even tighter budgets in the future, and school leaders will need to find innovative ways to deliver education.


Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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