Roberta Hersom has been named the superintendent in Maine School Administrative District 49, according to the district’s board of directors.

Robert Hersom has been named superintendent of SAD 49 in Fairfield. Contributed photo

The decision, announced Thursday, came after Hersom had served as interim superintendent since Reza Namin resigned last August.

Hersom was expected to remain in the interim position for the duration of the 2019-20 school year, while the board interviewed candidates.

“We began advertising for the position last December,” board Chairwoman Jenny Boyden said in a prepared statement.

“Additionally, we asked the Maine School Management Association to conduct community forums, and we posted an online survey to gather input from a wider audience, all of which guided our process.”

Boyden said the board received feedback from members of the community about what they wanted in the next superintendent.

In their responses, many residents said they sought a superintendent who, first and foremost, is committed to students. They also said they want a leader who is approachable and has demonstrated honesty and integrity.

For the board, a key consideration in selecting Mrs. Hersom was that she has consistently demonstrated … a deep commitment and know-how to effectively lead the district forward in continuing to fulfill its educational mission,” Boyden wrote in her statement.

Hersom has more than 26 years of public education experience, including 21 in MSAD 49 as an assistant to the superintendent, a classroom teacher and principal of Lawrence Junior High School.

Hersom wrote in an email Saturday she looks forward to guiding the district through upcoming projects, including the Maine Department of Education construction project for Fairfield Primary School.

“It is an honor to serve as MSAD 49’s superintendent,” Hersom wrote. “I care deeply about our school community and am committed to supporting the district’s success, ensuring that our students receive the best education possible.” 

Hersom’s tenure as the interim superintendent came after Namin’s resignation took effect Aug. 2. He served as superintendent for a year.

Namin’s time at MSAD 49 was marked by controversy, starting with his restructuring plans that cost the district $417,665 in administrative buyouts.

Former Lawrence High School Principal Mark Campbell was the recipient of $199,825 of that buyout after his position was eliminated. He resigned last April.

After becoming interim superintendent in August, Hersom said she was confident the district would recover from the controversies that marked the previous school year.

“Our challenges are also our opportunities,” Hersom said Aug. 14. “I have great confidence in our staff, and I believe that each one of us has opportunity to positively contribute to our students’ success. Our collective work, while a tremendous responsibility, is incredibly rewarding.”

Hersom said her confidence in MSAD 49 continues, even as the district’s students and staff deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now, our energies are focused on continuation of education and nutrition programs during school closure,” Hersom wrote in her email.

“Our teachers, support staff and administrators are working together to deliver these services in an ever-changing environment. I have great confidence in our staff.”

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