Members of the SAD 49 school district’s IT team were awarded the district’s Staff Award at a meeting Thursday. Superintendent Roberta Hersom (right) commended the group for their work during remote learning. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

The SAD 49 Board of Directors met Thursday to approve end of the school year business, hear from the superintendent about fall plans and the school construction project, and recognize a number of staff. 

The board voted to approve the results from the district budget referendum, which passed with an overall vote of 284-167. The board also approved several bids for milk, bread and paper for the district. 

Superintendent Roberta Hersom spoke about pandemic requirements for the fall and the school construction project. 

Hersom said that given the state and CDC guidance, the district is planning to offer full-time in-person education in the fall and as of this time will not be requiring students and staff to wear masks or to physically distance.  

“It’s a welcome relief after a long haul,” Hersom said. “And thank you to all of those who gave all they had to make this work for kids and their families.” 

The district plans to offer pool testing for students in the fall as well and while students and staff can continue to wear masks if they choose, it will not be required. 


Hersom updated the board on the status of the new school construction project. The district is working toward building a replacement for the Fairfield Primary School. The current building was approved for replacement by the state in 2019. 

As for the current timeline, Hersom said, she expects to hold a required straw poll in the fall, have a design concept prepared by next February or March and by next summer have those two components go to a referendum for voters.  

The focus now is on finding a suitable site for the school, which encompasses a variety of factors from sufficient space for staff parking to nearby wildlife. Because other schools in the district are older buildings these factors were not considered or required when they were built. 

“These elements weren’t necessarily taken into consideration the construction of current buildings here,” Hersom said. 

Hersom awarded several staff and faculty members with awards from the board. 

She recognized Lawrence High School science teacher Kevin Malady, who was named Somerset County’s teacher of the year.  


“He’s one of the most respected faculty members, by his peers and students, here at the high school,” said Lawrence High School principal Dan Bowers. “He doesn’t like the attention, as I said, that comes with doing what he does — he feels he’s just doing what any good teacher would do. 

She also recognized Benton Elementary School music teacher Josh Lund, who joined the ranks of the Maine Kids Rock Initiative, a statewide initiative that offers professional development opportunities and grants to teachers to help students explore music through a modern lens. 

Norma Fletcher, librarian at Albion Elementary School, and Loretta Thompson, from Benton Elementary School, were given the Ed. Tech Award.  

The Faculty Award was given to Deb Delong, a Title I Literacy Teacher at Clinton Elementary School, and Robyn Witham, a special education teacher at Lawrence Junior High School.  

IT specialists Zach Gushing, Michael Gifford and John Hold, and IT Director Lori Faulkner were recognized for their work during remote learning with the board’s Staff Award.  

“Throughout the COVID crisis they have worked diligently support staff,” Hersom said. “They have organized professional development, set up special devices, driven to students’ homes, responded to emails and phone calls throughout the year — throughout the day and evening — all with a positive attitude. They work hard and care about all the people in our district.” 


The Staff Award was also given to Lisa Moore, guidance counselor at Lawrence Senior High School; Dana Bourgoin, custodian at Clinton Elementary School; Eric Starner, custodian at Fairfield Primary School; Jane Reardon, kitchen manager at Benton Elementary School; and Renee Oakes, secretary at Fairfield Primary School.  

Hersom also awarded several retiring teachers with a retirement recognition bells. Those honored included Susan Barton, who worked as a school nurse at Benton Elementary School for 18 years; Ann Bates, a teacher from Clinton Elementary School who taught there for 35 years; Diane Engler, a Title I teacher who taught at Clinton Elementary School for 47 years; Cynthia Gagne, a guidance counselor at Benton Elementary School for 23 years; Lori LaPorte, an art teacher who taught at Lawrence Junior High School for 34 years; and Ronda Weeks, who was a teacher at Clinton Elementary School for 35 years. 

“We wish you all a joyous retirement and good health,” Hersom said.  

There were two resignations for the district: Sierra Bernard, a teacher at Fairfield Primary School, and Kevin Robinson, a teacher at Albion Elementary School. 

The board authorized Hersom to offer Kaylee Pomelo a position as performing arts teacher at Lawrence High School for the 2021-22 school year. 

The board went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations before adjourning.  

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