Tonya Arnold, an educator with more than 16 years of experience in Maine and New Hampshire, has been named the new principal for the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, one of the state’s first charter schools.

The board of Good Will-Hinckley, the nonprofit organization that runs the school, announced Arnold’s appointment in a written statement released Monday afternoon.

The school opened in 2011 and has an incoming class of 122 students this year. It has been a charter school since 2012, one of Maine’s first along with Cornville Regional Charter School in Cornville.

“Our focus — at MeANS and all the programs on campus — remains providing non-traditional students with individualized attention, hands-on learning opportunities and a chance to succeed,” Vice President of Operations and Interim President Rob Moody said in a news release. “Tonya Arnold shares that commitment and has the administrative experience we need as MeANS continues to grow.”

Arnold spent eight years as a school principal in Fryeburg, in Stratford, New Hampshire, and most recently at Lakes Region Middle School in Naples, according to the release. She was nominated as Maine Principal of the Year in 2015 and Maine Teacher of the Year in 2005.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work and lead the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences,” Arnold said in the statement. “Good Will-Hinckley has a 125-year history of making sure all young Mainers have an opportunity to succeed and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences is quickly becoming a renowned place for innovative, hands-on learning in the natural sciences.”

Arnold replaces Troy Frost, who has worked on the Good Will-Hinckley campus for 29 years. She starts her position immediately.

The incoming class at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences is the largest allowed by Maine Charter School Commission rules and includes students from 27 school districts. According to the school, there is a waiting list for students who want to attend.

Founded in the 1890s, Good Will-Hinkley offered residential education for generations of at-risk youth on a 1,000-acre campus in the Hinkley section of Fairfield. In 2009 the school shut down its core functions because of financial problems, but in 2011 it opened the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences.

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