FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9’s board of directors have hired a middle school math teacher to serve as the interim assistant principal and athletic director for Mt. Blue Middle School.

Katherine Duchesne was unanimously approved by the school board Tuesday night to replace former Mt. Blue Middle School assistant principal Joel Smith on an interim basis. Smith was hired last month to serve at Mt. Blue High School as the interim assistant principal for grades 9 and 10.

Smith and Duchesne are among several new intern hires within the district because of the most recent budget cycle prompting RSU 9 officials to restructure administration at the Mt. Blue campus. The large campus is located on Seamon Road in Farmington and includes Mt. Blue High School, the Foster Technology center and Franklin County Adult Basic Education.

The positions that were filled under the new administration model are all on an interim basis in order to see if the new structure works at the campus. The positions will be re-advertised at the end of the school year.

Duchesne will start at the middle school in her new role on Oct. 7 with a pro-rated annual salary of $58,540. A long-term substitute will replace Duchesne as a math teacher at the middle school through the end of the year. The substitute has been serving as a replacement in Duchesne’s classroom since last spring when Duchesne went on maternity leave.

Directors also approved hiring Dr. Ryan Whitt as the district’s school physician, replacing Dr. Kendra Emery, who moved out of the district. Whitt is a pediatrician at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. As school physician, Whitt will meet monthly with school nurses or as frequently as needed to discuss medical care and serve as a resource to the district. He will also serve on the district’s concussion committee.

In other business, the board heard an update from Christine Gatto-Shea on special education within the district. She told directors that throughout the district special education programs are feeling the effects of eight ed-tech positions that were left vacant and then cut during the budget process. She told directors that the programs are trying to compensate by pulling resources from other areas, but the district will likely need to hire three ed-techs. The three ed-techs are needed to provide support for newly identified special education students at Mt. Blue High School, Mt. Blue Middle School and Cascade Brook School.

Directors also approved Gatto-Shea’s request for the district to form a subcommittee to address how special education staff and faculty can receive professional development training. Because of the nature of special education day programs and adapted skills programs, staff spend all of their days with their students, meaning there is minimal time within the school day for prep or professional development training.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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