WATERVILLE — Peter Hallen, who for the last decade has served as director of the Mid-Maine Technical Center, is the new assistant superintendent of Waterville Public Schools.

Hallen, 50, was the unanimous choice of a search committee that interviewed four of eight people who applied for the job, and the Waterville Board of Education on Monday voted 7-0 to approve Hallen’s appointment.

“I’ve thought for years that this district needs an assistant superintendent,” school board Chair Joan Phillips-Sandy said after the board meeting. “I’m very excited that we finally have one, and I think Peter Hallen is going to be fantastic.”

Waterville schools have been without an assistant superintendent for five years. Peter Thiboutot, who now is superintendent of Winslow schools, was assistant superintendent for Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which included Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro. That structure dissolved in 2018 after nine years, and Winslow hired Thiboutot as superintendent. Waterville went back to being Waterville Public Schools with Eric Haley, who was the superintendent of AOS 92, becoming the superintendent in the city, with no assistant.

Phillips-Sandy said Hallen will work part-time as assistant superintendent for a few weeks while he transitions from the technical center, which is based in Waterville.

Haley, a member of the search committee, said the panel was impressed with the four who applied for the position, but there’s “no question Peter was the No. 1 candidate.”


Haley, who will turn 68 years old Thursday, is scheduled to go on medical leave next week to have a hip replacement and Hallen will take over his duties during his leave. Haley plans to retire next year and a superintendent search is scheduled to begin in the fall.

School board member Pam Trinward, who also was a member of the search committee, said Hallen was the top choice for assistant superintendent.

“It was unanimous from the very beginning, with every member of the committee, that he was our best choice,” she said.

Hallen became director of the technical center in 2012 when Mark Powers retired. Before that, Hallen was the center’s student services coordinator for 12 years. The technical center governance board, made up of superintendents and members of the boards of directors for sending schools, selected Hallen to be director. The technical center serves more than 400 students from 12 towns and school districts including Waterville, Winslow, Regional School Unit 18 and Maine School Administrative District 49.

Hallen acknowledged after Monday’s meeting that he did not have aspirations to be assistant superintendent and was happy with his job at the tech center. He said he believes strongly in career and technical education and the tech center is a flagship school. But when school officials started discussing the need for an assistant superintendent in January, he began to think  more about his obligation to Waterville, where his three children attended school.

“I’m looking at a lot of transitions happening in schools, on the (school) board, City Council and maybe at the state level, and I felt like I was in the right spot personally and professionally to step in and help if they wanted me to,” Hallen said.


He said he is excited to work with strong school administrative team members, whom he described as “smart, forward-thinking people.”

Peter Hallen, director of the Mid-Maine Technical Center in Waterville, was named Monday as the assistant superintendent of Waterville Public Schools. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“I feel a lot of weight heading into it because I know how important the position is going to be, but I’m so excited and hope that in my position I can still be a part in how career and technical education plays a role in Waterville Public Schools,” he said.

Phillips-Sandy said during the meeting that three priorities had been identified during discussions about the assistant superintendent position, including that the assistant would work with homeless students, help secure grant funding and deal with the issue of educational loss experienced during the pandemic.

Hallen, of Waterville, holds a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from the University of Maine; a Master of Arts in counseling in higher education from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts; and a Bachelor of Arts in English and secondary education from Bridgewater State. He is certified by the Maine Department of Education to be an assistant superintendent.

Hallen’s wife, Lisa, is guidance director at Waterville Senior High School.

Waterville Board of Education member Greg Bazakas asked several questions at Monday’s meeting about the assistant superintendent’s position, including salary. Haley said the salary will be negotiated.


“This is an exciting time, and I’m looking forward to having Peter on board,” Bazakas said.

Asked after the meeting about Hallen’s appointment, search committee member Cassie Julia said she is excited for the future of Waterville.

“I’m so happy we have an assistant to support the superintendent’s office again after a five-year hiatus,” she said.

Committee member Samantha Delorie agreed.

“He is the perfect fit for what we were looking for — somebody who understands the community and the schools and the importance of making those connections and keeping them strong,” she said.

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