Assistant Superintendent Peter Hallen greets children Tuesday at Creative Minds Daycare at Waterville Senior High School. Hallen on Monday was named the new superintendent of Waterville schools, replacing the retiring Eric Haley. Hallen begins his new duties July 1. Shown with Hallen on Tuesday are, from left, Eliza Langis, 5, Ava LaChance, 5, Silas Pillsbury, 4, Everlee Breault, 3, Amelia Millett, 3, and Avery Czarnecki, 4. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Peter Hallen will be the new Waterville Public Schools superintendent starting July 1, as the Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to appoint him to the top spot.

Hallen, 51, who has been assistant superintendent since July, will succeed Eric Haley, 68. Haley has been superintendent 22 years and has worked in education 45 years.

“I’m excited,” Hallen said after Monday’s board meeting. “I obviously have some big shoes to fill and they belong to somebody … I’ve seen as a role model and someone … I went to when I needed help the last 22 years that I’ve been here.”

Hallen said that while he is sure there were candidates in the pool as qualified as he was, the committee appreciated the fact that he was connected to the community as a parent, taxpayer and an employee.

“Waterville’s been my life, and I think that mattered in the end,” Hallen said.

Haley said Hallen’s salary as superintendent has not yet been established but “we will have to figure that out soon.” Haley currently earns about $173,000.


Before becoming assistant superintendent, Hallen served 10 years as director of the Mid-Maine Technical Center. Before that, he was student services coordinator at MMTC for 12 years. He was the unanimous choice of a search committee last year that interviewed four of eight people who applied for the assistant’s job, and the Board of Education voted 7-0 to approve his appointment to that position.

A Waterville resident, Hallen holds a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from the University of Maine; a master’s degree in counseling in higher education from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts; and a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from Bridgewater State. Hallen’s wife, Lisa, is guidance director at Waterville Senior High School.

Assistant Superintendent Peter Hallen entertains young students Tuesday during their lunch time at Creative Minds Daycare at Waterville Senior High School. The Waterville Board of Education a day earlier named Hallen the new superintendent of Waterville schools, replacing the retiring Eric Haley. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

School board Chairwoman Pam Trinward said earlier Monday that 13 people applied for the superintendent’s job. The search committee, of which she was chairwoman, interviewed seven candidates and narrowed that number to three. Those three were scheduled to be reinterviewed but a person who was from Massachusetts — one of the top candidates — backed out, so the panel interviewed a fourth candidate also.

Trinward told the board Monday night that the search committee voted 8-1 in favor of Hallen. The first round of candidates included directors, finance directors, assistant superintendents and superintendents of smaller districts, according to Trinward.

“When we zeroed in to the end, it really became a decision of who the committee felt was the most qualified,” she said.

Trinward said committee members dedicated considerable time to the search.


“I think the committee did an excellent job and they all worked very hard,” she said. “I was very proud of all the work that they did.”

Haley offered his congratulations to Hallen, and board members and people in the audience applauded.

Trinward said Feb. 27 that the committee planned to interview seven candidates that week who were from Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

It was the second superintendent search conducted in roughly the last year. A 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.

Besides Trinward and Haley, search committee members were 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.

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