Mt. Blue school district board names new superintendent
FARMINGTON - A familiar face has accepted the Mt. Blue Regional School District's superintendent's job.
Dr. Thomas Ward, a Mt. Blue High School graduate and a former school administrator here who is currently RSU 10's superintendent, accepted the RSU 9 superintendent's position contingent on a contract agreement.
Following a 90-minute interview and board discussion, the 16-member school board emerged from an executive session held Tuesday night to unanimously vote in Dr. Ward as superintendent of the 2,400-student school district. He will be replacing Dr. Michael Cormier who is retiring on June 30 after 20 years with the district.
Directors burst into applause following the decision and Dr. Ward's acceptance of the job.
"Thank you all," Dr. Ward said smiling, "You won't be disappointed."
Dr. Ward, 58, graduated from Mt. Blue High School in 1972, taught and coached locally before going into school administrative work, first as an athletic director then an athletic director and assistant principal at Mt. Blue High School.
He took a job as principal at Dirigo High School for two years then returned to Mt. Blue High School and served as principal for eight years, he said. He went onto MSAD 35 as principal of Marshwood High School for eight years then became superintendent for MSAD 21 schools in Dixfield. He served for six years until MSAD 21, MSAD 39, and MSAD 43 consolidated into one district 2009 and he was named as superintendent of the new-formed, 2,800-student Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10.
His wife, Dr. Grace Ward, is an associate professor of middle and secondary education at the University of Maine at Farmington. The couple live in Temple.
He said the RSU 9 superintendent's job "provides an opportunity to come home. We live here, our kids went to K through 12 grades here and it's been a great experience for me as a student, teacher, coach, administrator. This is an opportunity I didn't want to pass up - to be the superintendent of RSU 9."
Afterward, RSU 9's Assistant Superintendent Leanne Condon said Dr. Ward is "a nice fit for our district." She added he's brought "big initiatives to RSU 10," such as the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports training funded by a federal grant award, which the board is excited about. "He'll come in and continue to move us forward," Condon said.
Director Betsey Hyde said after the vote, "I find it fitting that a Mt. Blue grad would come back and be our superintendent."
Dr. Ward noted that the decision to leave RSU 10 was a difficult one. "I put my heart and soul into it; it's an equally great school district with great people." Then, looking around at the board said, "we're going to have fun."