FAIRFIELD — After more than one month of searching, the school board for Maine School Administrative District 49 hired an interim assistant superintendent for the upcoming school year during a meeting on Sept. 19.

Patricia Watts, who started with the district on Monday, has worked in education for more than 45 years. A graduate of the University of Maine Orono, Watts has held the positions of teacher, principal, elementary supervisor, assistant superintendent and curriculum coordinator for Augusta, Lincolnville, Regional School Unit 12, SAD 49, Topsfield and Wiscassett.

“I have been involved in teaching, learning and supervising for 45 years,” Watts said. “It doesn’t seem possible how the time has gone so quickly.”

Watts’ extensive experience in education played a part in her hiring, according to Interim Superintendent Roberta Hersom.

“We believe that she will serve our students and staff well through her work, drawing upon her experiences in many facets of a school system,” Hersom said in an email. “In all capacities, she has demonstrated that she is a strong advocate for student success, and a strong supporter of all staff in the important work they do.”

Watts had retired from teaching five years ago but decided to apply for the position with SAD 49 because she felt she and the district would make a good match.

“I retired and realized I missed my career as an educator,” Watts said. “I saw the interim superintendent’s position and decided to apply … MSAD 49 holds similar philosophies that are dear to me as an educator such as Reading Recovery, Maine Partnership in Comprehensive Literacy, The Workshop Model, Differentiated Instruction and of course the professional reputation of the teachers, staff and administration in the district. I’m also very impressed with all the sports and extracurricular MSAD 49 has to offer their students.”

Watts’ hiring comes after months of shifts in district staffing which began last January when former Superintendent Dr. Reza Namin announced his divisive restructuring plan, a move that ended up costing the district $417,665 in administrative buyouts.

Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, SAD 49 saw the resignations of seven teachers, Lawrence High School’s assistant and head principal, three school board members and eventually Namin, whose resignation took effect Aug. 2.

After Namin’s departure, Hersom, who had served as the assistant superintendent for two years, was chosen to fill the position of interim superintendent for the duration of the 2019-2020 school year.

The district also chose Dan Bowers, who spent the last 11 years as an assistant principal at Messalonskee, to take over the principal’s office at Lawrence High School in August.

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