WATERVILLE — A committee charged with searching for a new schools superintendent plans to interview seven candidates this week.

Pam Trinward, chairwoman of the Waterville Board of Education, said the candidates are from Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

“We had some very qualified people applying and I think we’re in good shape,” Trinward told the board Monday night.

Earlier in the day, Trinward, who also is the chairwoman of the search committee, said that after the interviews are conducted, the panel will decide whether to hold a second round of interviews or bring a candidate to the full board.

“I feel confident that we’re going to find somebody that people will be happy with,” she said.

Superintendent Eric Haley, 68, has served in the job for 22 years and has worked in education 45 years. He said last year that he hoped to retire by July 1.


Trinward said 13 people applied for the position and the pool was narrowed to seven who will be interviewed

“Right now there are 17 openings in the state of Maine for superintendent’s slots,” she said. “Four have been hired. None had applied for our position, so that’s good.”

She said the committee has been on a tight schedule and it is important to work as quickly as possible, as all of the candidates the panel will interview are under contract and those contracts end in July. Waterville schools’ fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.

“We’re concerned about dragging our feet and losing candidates, because there are so many openings in Maine,” she told board members Monday.

This is the second superintendent search conducted in roughly the last year. A superintendent search committee last year, which included most of the current members, reported it was unable to find a qualified candidate among the 12 applicants. Haley agreed to stay on as superintendent until a suitable candidate was found. This time around, the superintendent’s position was advertised in December, applications were received by the end of January and the panel reviewed applications in the first two weeks of February, according to Trinward.

Besides Trinward and Haley, search committee members are Ciara Hargrove, a teacher and president of the local teachers union; Cathy Lovendahl, a teacher; Paula Pooler, finance director for Waterville schools; Jennifer Allen, professional development and curriculum coordinator; Tabatha King, special education director; Luke Brooks-Shesler, a parent; and Board of Education members Greg Bazakas and Pat Helm. The committee has met three times, according to Trinward.


In other matters Monday, Kim Taylor, principal of George J. Mitchell School, said that in celebration of the 100th day of school which occurred before school vacation, students and staff held a food drive in partnership with the PTA and they lined items in the hallway.

“We stocked our food pantry,” she said.

Taylor reported the school still needs substitute teachers, though the problem is less severe than it was last year.

“I have had to call out five classes this year because we didn’t have a teacher,” she said, adding that last year she had to call out about 19 classes.

Taylor said when there is extra staff at other schools, they come to help with classes at George Mitchell. She also has reached out to Thomas College to try to recruit students who may want to substitute.

Erin Madore, principal of the Albert S. Hall School, said her school collected more than 230 items for its food pantry and received a $1,000 grant from the Waterville Rotary Club for the pantry effort.

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