WATERVILLE — Schools Superintendent Eric Haley will stay on in his position until a new superintendent is found after a search committee determined that none of the 12 people who applied were a good fit for Waterville.

Eric Haley, pictured here Monday night, will stay on in his position as superintendent until a new superintendent is found, after a search committee determined that none of the 12 people who applied were a good fit for Waterville. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

Joan Phillips-Sandy, chairperson of the Waterville Board of Education, said after a brief executive session Monday night that Haley has agreed to continue until a search for a new superintendent resumes in the fall and an appropriate candidate is found.

After reviewing the 12 applications, the search committee concluded that none had quite the level of experience and qualifications the board is looking for, according to Phillips-Sandy, who chairs the search committee.

“The search committee made the decision that we do not have a candidate to bring to the board at this time,” she said.

Five of the 12 applicants were from out of state and seven are Maine residents, according to Phillips-Sandy, who said there were also eight additional inquiries but those people did not follow up with applications.

She asked the board for a motion to resume the search in the fall with the intent to have a superintendent on board by July 1, 2023. The board voted 7-0 to do so and agreed to discuss at that time whether to maintain the search committee, have a new slate of members or have a mix of old and new.

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Haley several months ago signed a one-year contract with a clause that either he or the board could terminate the contract with a 60-day notice. He also had agreed to stay on for a full year if necessary, though he said in January he’d like to retire this year if possible. The board had set a goal of hiring someone by July 1 this year.

The board in February voted to hire the Maine School Management Association to help with the superintendent search.

Haley, 67, has been the superintendent in Waterville for 21 years and has worked in education 45 years.

Board of Education members Greg Bazakas and Patricia Helm served on the search committee as did Jennifer Allen, coordinator of curriculum, titles (funding) and professional development for Waterville Public Schools; Luke Brooks-Shesler, the parent of two children at George J. Mitchell School and a member of Waterville Elementary Schools Parent Teacher Organization; Ciara Hargrove, a teacher and choral director for Waterville Senior High School and Waterville Junior High School; Tabatha King, Waterville schools special education director; Christina LaChance, an educational technician II at the high school; Cathy Lovendahl, a teacher at Albert S. Hall School; Paula Pooler, finance director for Waterville schools; Waterville Junior High School Principal Don Roux; and Deb Strout, Waterville schools’ family engagement coordinator.

Haley said in an email Monday night that he is “absolutely happy to stay on.”

Phillips-Sandy issued a statement Monday night saying that by agreeing to stay on for the full year if necessary, Haley “gave the committee the ability to be clear, up front, that we would only bring a candidate to the board if we found someone we believed fully capable to take the reins and lead WPS now and going forward.”

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“Although we received a number of applications, from within and outside Maine, many from dedicated and capable school administrators, none rose to the level of experience and qualifications we believed necessary for WPS at this time,” the statement said. “With all we have going on right now, along with the ongoing needs of a district with a wide ranging, diverse demographic in its student population and its community, and requiring substantial financial management, we need someone with extensive experience and suitable qualifications. Currently we are hiring three new administrators. We are engaged in several major building projects. In addition to our own $27 million budget and the financial work we do for two other districts, we are managing substantial federal COVID and Titles money. And we are negotiating several labor contracts, some of which might not be settled by the end of this school year.”

Sue Barre is recognized Monday night at a Waterville Board of Education meeting by Waterville Senior High School Principal Brian Laramee for receiving the 2021-22 Outstanding Music Educator Award. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

In other matters Monday, Sue Barre, department chairperson for visual and performing arts at Waterville Senior High School and coordinator of music for kindergarten through grade 12, was honored for receiving the 2021-22 Outstanding Music Educator Award. Barre was one of 45 people selected this year to receive outstanding educator awards from the National Federation of State High School Music Association and the NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre/Academics Association.

Ashe Barley and Yunique Allen were each honored with 2022 Excellence in Arts Education awards.

In Science Olympiad, Beatrice Beale Tate was honored for first place in anatomy and physiology; Keya Amundsen, first place in cell biology; and Cole Bazakas and Karin Zimba, both first place in ping pong parachute.

Visual and Performing Arts All-State awards for 2022 were issued as follows: Beatrice Beale Tate, band trombone; Karin Zimba, band percussion; Keya Amundsen, orchestra cello; Colette Carrillo, chorus; Alexa Dewitt, chorus; AnnMarie Limberger, orchestra violin; Hazel Dow, orchestra violin; George Taylor, orchestra violin; and Sophia Scheck, orchestra viola.

State Sportsmanship awards were given to Kara Anderson, Izzy Derosby, Hazel Dow, Carolyn Kinney, AnnMarie Limberger, Greta Limberger, Coltrane McRae, Marianne Renaud, Kaethe Rice and Madison Yakimchick. Coaches awards were given to Katie Souviney, Ted Brown and Joel Dyer.

State Skills Champions honored were: digital cinema production, Dan Whitman/Billy Place, Winslow High School/Waterville Senior High School; mobile robotics, Stephen Spencer/Cody Knox, Winslow/ Messalonskee High School, Oakland; photography, Dan Whitman, Winslow; state officer, Kaido Bard, Lawrence High School, Fairfield; and television video production, DJ McKenzie/Quinn Denis, homeschool/Waterville.

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