Colby College graduate, longtime Maine public school superintendent and Maine Academy of Natural Sciences board Chairman Richard Abramson has been named interim president at Good Will-Hinckley.

Abramson was appointed to head the organization, which oversees the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, this week after Glenn Cummings announced on Sept. 2 that he will become interim president at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Good Will-Hinckley operates the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences charter school, which opened in September 2012. Previously, for more than a century, Good Will-Hinckley had educated troubled and disadvantaged youngsters, closing its core operations in June 2009 for financial reasons

Abramson began his duties at the Fairfield school on Monday, Cummings’ last day.

Abramson has resigned his board positions, according to a Good Will-Hinckley press release. The board of directors has already begun a professional search for a permanent president for the school.

“Good Will-Hinckley has a clear growth plan that calls for partnering with school districts across Maine to serve those students who need a non-traditional, hands-on education to achieve their full potential,” Abramson said. “We have an exceptional senior leadership team, a terrific, expanding partnership with Kennebec Valley Community College and tremendous momentum across campus.


“As someone who has worked in Maine education my whole career, I am proud to have the opportunity to lead one of our state’s most historic education institutions.”

Abramson has been involved in education, special education and working with young people for more than 40 years as a teacher in Richmond and as a graduate instructor and adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine at both Orono and Farmington as well as the University of New England in Biddeford.

His passions in education, he said by phone Thursday, are wellness and nutrition issues, along with working with students who are “the square pegs in the round holes,” or non-traditional and at risk students — kids that just do not fit the mold.

“The charter school — the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences — works with non-traditional kids, some of whom might have been leaning to dropping out, kids who were struggling in the public school environment and kids that really profit by a hands-on environment,” he said of the 76 students at the school.

Abramson was born and raised in Natick, Mass., and has been in Maine since arriving at Colby College in 1967. He graduated from Colby with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and from the University of Maine with master’s degrees in education, special education administration and educational administration.

Abramson for 17 years was superintendent in Maine school systems including Arundel (1995-1999), Wells-Ogunquit (1999-2001) and Readfield (2001-2012). He was nominated as Superintendent of the Year by the National Association of School Superintendents in 2012.


“Good Will-Hinckley has been incredibly fortunate to have Rich Abramson serving as chairman of the board for the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, and we are even more lucky he is willing to step in at this time to lead Good Will-Hinckley as interim president,” Jack Moore, board chairman of the organization, said in a news release. “Rich has over 40 years of experience as a Maine teacher and public school superintendent and an equally long track record as a leader on how to best educate, nurture and support non-traditional students.”

Abramson, 65, announced his retirement in April 2011 after 10 years as head of the Maranacook school district, but stayed on with the district for another year, working as superintendent under an interim agreement as the school board searched for his replacement.

He then founded Abramson Education Consulting business, which has advised many schools and institutions over the last two years.

“I have spent a fair amount of time as superintendent and as a consultant to the Phoenix Academies of New England, which are substance abuse programs for adolescents, helping them with their educational component,” he said.

Abramson worked with Phoenix Academies in Springfield, Mass., the school’s headquarters, and in Dublin, N.H., and in Augusta. He continues to work with Dublin schools. The program in Maine closed in April and has been replaced with the Day One Program through the state Department of Health and Human Services, he said.

Abramson recently established the Day One Program, with central offices in Regional School Unit 3 in Unity, at the Alfond Cottage on the Good Will-Hinckley campus. Day One is a residential program that serves 14 Maine youth who are working to overcome substance abuse.


Abramson has been involved on the Good Will-Hinckley campus since 2011 when he joined the board of directors for the school and became chairman of the board of directors of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences. Over that time, he has been involved in development of the growth strategy and plan the school is now executing.

In addition to his education career, Abramson has a long history of involvement and leadership with Maine non-profit and community organizations including the YMCA, the United Way, the Kiwanis Club, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and numerous arts and arts education organizations.

As interim president, Abramson will focus on keeping the school on its growth plan, supporting the senior leadership team as they develop their respective programs and keeping the momentum going on the capital campaign underway to develop the facilities required to serve more young people from all over Maine.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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