Franklin Countys First News

RSU 9 unanimously approves hiring of new superintendent

RSU 9 board Chairwoman Jennifer Zweig-Hebert of Starks, left, stands with new RSU 9 Superintendent Tina Meserve .

FARMINGTON - The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors met Thursday night to announce the hiring of the new RSU 9 superintendent to replace Dr. Tom Ward who will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Tina Meserve accepted the position of superintendent after being unanimously approved by board members. She spoke briefly to the audience of board members, RSU 9 staff and community members. Meserve is a graduate of Mt. Blue High School and has worked for the last five years as superintendent of RSU 16 in Poland. She is being hired with a salary of $125,000 and is scheduled to begin July 1.

"There were many life lessons learned in the hallways of Mt. Blue that have followed me throughout my career. Those small moments have all led to this big moment, and changed the very trajectory of where I was heading," Meserve said. "I'm thrilled to be returning to this place that has meant so much to me over the years."

Meserve's husband, Jeff Meserve, will be retiring this year after 38 years of teaching.

"I want to compliment the school board, the search committee and the evaluation committee on an outstanding job throughout the whole process. You have brought to RSU 9 one of the rising stars of education in the state of Maine," Dr. Tom Ward said.

Prior to serving as superintendent for RSU 16, Meserve spent one year as assistant superintendent, four years as the curriculum coordinator for the Augusta School Department and nine years as a literacy specialist for MSAD 52. Meserve began her career with teaching elementary school for MSAD 36 as well as RSU 9. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Maine in Orono before going on to get her Masters in Education, also from UMaine.

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33 Responses »

  1. Congratulations to Ms. Meserve and RSU 9! The beaming faces pictured above make me hopeful about the future.

  2. Congratulations Tina and welcome aboard! I'm looking forward to working with you in the future.

  3. Welcome, Tina!! I look forward to having you as our new superintendent!

  4. Congratulations and welcome!!! After watching the video of the board meeting, it struck me that Ms. Meserve is a beautiful example of what happens when we invest fully in our children and their grow up in this school district and return as the superintendent is a living breathing testimony of the way generosity and giving breeds service to our community and our world!
    Thank you for joining our amazing community!!!!

  5. all I can say is wow!!!!

  6. Just so we start off on the right foot -- can someone who knows tell us how to pronounce her last name?
    I've seen people with that name pronounce it at least three different ways ...

  7. Congratulations.
    Can the daily bulldog tell us how the new hire's salary of 125,000 compares to the outgoing superintendent. I'd like to know the percentage increase or decrease.
    Thank you.

  8. If the daily bulldog will not post this public information of how this 125,000 salary compares to the prior superintendent, maybe a knowledgeable source on the school board will provide this public information.
    Why is it so difficult to get this information made public??
    Thank you.

  9. And how much does a bus driver, custodian, food prep people,etc make?

  10. Sandy: Have you called the District Office in your search? Looked at previous DB articles on the budget? The starting pay is about 2% higher than the Superintendents starting pay from five years its about 5% less in present value.....How does that salary compare to other Superintendent salaries in neighboring districts?

  11. It's such a simple question that I am trying to get answered.
    How does this new superintendent salary and benefits compare to the outgoing superintendent. It's so hard to find that information.
    As far as teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and food prep employees, all of that information is easily found on the district website. So are all the other administrators contracts.
    How about posting the superintendent's contract on the district website as well.
    thank you

  12. Sandy - you posted your question Friday night, and then Saturday morning expressed frustration that it isn't getting answered. I know we live in a "I want everything right away" culture, but patience is a virtue.

    I know this - the benefits are the same, Dr. Ward was hired at $120,000, and was scheduled to get 2% raises each year. That would put him at $135,000 by now. However, for some reason he declined those raises - that is NOT something I would have done! So he's still making $120,000. The $125,000 for Tina Meserve is below the market value - she was making about that same (or would next year) at her old district, which is smaller than ours, and lacks a vo tech center. I suspect she didn't hold out for more because she was educated in this district and has a connection.

    All of this is public knowledge if you search - but even if you just inquire, you can get answers. Just don't expect people to be able to answer a question posed Friday night by first thing Saturday morning!

  13. Sandy - here are a few ideas:
    Go to a school board meeting
    Become involved the budget process
    Call or email one of the school board reps in your town
    Get a copy of our local school budget

    This information is not hard to find, you have to put in the effort yourself to acquire the information. Just because the Daily Bulldog didn't post it for you doesn't mean the answer is "hard to find". Get involved if you're that concerned about salaries.

    But most importantly, congrats to Tina Meserve!

  14. Salary, plus major benefits, plus her $4000 upgrade next year.

  15. @Sandy the superintendent currently makes $122,000 plus benefits comes to approximately $152,000. Yes he has refused raises thelast three or four years knowing it would increase the budget that much more and wanting a budget people might get behind.If he had accepted these raises his pay would be a little higher than what the new superintendent will start at. Comments saying I wouldn't have done it is the same as the teachers always accepting theres it leaves it hard for people to vote in favor of any other increases that might benefit the curriculum.

  16. Appreciate the feedback.
    I'm still hoping that a copy of this contract will be available on the district website, so that it may be viewed along with the contract of every other employee. I hope everyone agrees with the availability of this public information.
    I'm assuming it has been an oversight not to have the superintendents contract available all these years.
    Thank you.

  17. Id like to congratulate tina. Her and i were in the same class. Kudos! Im sure you'll do a great job.

    As far as comments about salary, that is a GREAT salary ,for anyone. Id do it for less. I have a brother who graduated from MMA with an engineering degree who makes about the same . And works about 60 hours a week. Apples to doughnuts , if you cant live WELL on that , theres a problem in denmark.

  18. That in not factual. Dr. Tom who I think of as a friend know there is to the pay. I do.

  19. We live in a market economy meaning that markets determine salaries. Superintendents are some of the best paid public servants because it is such a difficult and demanding job, and very few are qualified. Most of us reading this are qualified to be, say, Governor, but probably less than 1% to be a Superintendent. The job has notoriously long hours, requires knowledge of state and federal regulations, involves being the equivalent of a CEO of a $35 million company, requires considerable interaction with the public, and almost always involves controversy. If you don't pay what the markets demands, you will get a poor Superintendent, and leadership of a district is extremely important. The wrong person in charge and educational quality is harmed. Try hiring a Super at $100,000 for this district and we'd likely have no good applicants. Saving that money would hardly make a dent in the budget, but could have horrific consequences for the school system. There is high demand for quality super intendents and low supply - hence, they earn a decent salary.

    There are a lot of people in our community who earn more than $100,000. Most don't announce it - and people don't know. Depending on choices made and the work one does, markets create salary ranges that may seem unfair. Indeed, that's the allure of communism, the desire to equal everyone out. But unless you want a government planned economy where people are forced to work at the wage the government wants, and markets are not allowed to operate, if you want a decent person in a job like this, you have to pay a salary in line with the market.

    Also, when I noted above that I won't have declined the raises Dr. Ward turned down, it was to make the point that Dr. Ward did something very rare, and something that should not be expected of others. Despite having the experience to earn more (the Superintendent in the Skowhegan area earns near $150,000), he made a choice to accept a salary below market value and turn down raises he earned. People should not expect that, most people want to earn what their work is worth or they go elsewhere. How many of readers here turn down raises?

  20. Scott
    Turning down raises or making less than last year happens all the time in the business world. We fight through it
    A lot of don’t quit and move on we stick to it and when economy allows maybe we can make a little more but
    Should Not be a given every year. That is simply unfair to put on the taxpayer .

  21. Sandy,according to the Mt. Blue Regional School District Budget ,Dr.Ward's salary for this year was $124,440. Next year he was to receive $125,000 and $22,774 in benefits, and $4,963 paid in for retirement. For the past 3 years he received $122,000, accepting no raises in order to help with budget constraints.His benefit package each year was similar to the one mentioned above. If you look in past budget books, which should be in town offices, you will find employees salaries and benefits. If not in town offices, you should be able to access them in the superintendent's office. Seems that the year passed nicely without an assistant superintendent, so there should be no need for one in the future, at least there is not one in the budget for next year as Dr. Ward stated that decision would be left up to the new superintendent. Time will tell. Student assessment position was left open, so probably no need there either. With 3 administrators overseeing the Foster Tech. Center, the new Superintendent has that area pretty well covered as well as experienced leaders in all other departments and schools.

  22. Sammy - again, the market sets the salaries. Teachers here in the past often found nearby districts offering more and left. That still happens, and if we don't keep up with the market, we'll lose people. Having quality principals and administrators are essential. We have good people in those positions now (and hiring a new one for Super), but can lose them if they can find better offers elsewhere. In the budget we have so few essential administrators that paying a fair market salary to keep them does not significantly cut the budget. We could cut administrator salaries in half and your tax burden would not shift any discernible amount. But losing quality people in leadership roles would be devastating for the district. Moreover, despite having a degree and constant continuing education, teachers are underpaid compared to similar kinds of jobs in the private sector. Many good ones leave for the private sector for that reason. So I think yearly raises - which are very common nationally, makes sense. The economy has been doing well for a few years now too. There is a problem in that the good economy benefits some more than others, but that's a different issue.

  23. Again, please post the superintendent contract on the district website for us all to see.
    We cannot use the market excuse to pay the highest superintendent salary in the area. that is how public salaries can get out of control if every district uses hat as an excuse.
    If we use market excuses to govern the super's salary, why are we not using market salaries to pay our teachers more than any other district. What's good for one is good for the rest.
    I know many people in private industry that are not the highest paid. People can always change jobs to find one that pays more. Some will do that, most will not. You can't use the threat of someone leaving as a reason for increasing the salary and benefits to something the tax base cannot afford.
    thank you

  24. Well said Sandy!! I just don’t understand why people can’t conserve and spend less

  25. Sandy, you seem to be well informed. Now that the Superintendents salary has been posted to the DB, what are the salaries in the area for other Superintendents? The full time ones? RSU 10? RSU 54? RSU 73? RSU 56?and how about the part time ones?

    Thank you for the informative discussion points!

  26. Teachers are walking out of many schools (Oklahoma, Kentucky) to protest low wages and lack of spending on education in general. There has been a teacher drain in OK for years as those seeking a better wage have left to go to neighboring states such as TX and AR.

    Don't suppose that "wages" don't matter; lots of people, professionals and otherwise, often can't 'afford' to stay where their pay is not sufficient.

  27. Teachers deserve as much pay as any other trained, dedicated professional. Maybe more.
    I am glad they can negotiate, and walk or move if needed.
    Unfortunately for some of us when we get to a point in life that we are no longer able to work or adjust to ever increasing taxes, we can't negotiate or just move to greener areas.
    It is shocking to me with the amount that is budgeted for schools, 10's of millions, that teacher salaries are so low or there is no wiggle room whatsoever to move money from one area to the teachers. It seems to come down to millions more in taxes.
    I don't see any relief with the current process of funding public education.
    125K per year for the superintendent seems like a fair rate for the taxpayers. Of course we won't know if we are getting our monies worth until we see results.
    Best of success.

  28. Salary aside this person has "History" in her present district. Although she was cleared of any wrong doing, what does that mean for us? Did the search committee not do its job completely? Was it brought before the board before a contract or a vote was taken to hire her? What else may be hidden. I am not saying that she doesn't deserve a chance, but what does it actually mean for us as a district? Only time will tell.

  29. Market forces are driving ALL salaries in the school district. Teachers, principals, super intendents, bus drivers, etc. Also, we do not pay the highest superintendent salary in the area. The Super in Skowhegan makes almost $150,000. Right know given the work, training required, and responsibility, I'd say ALL are being underpaid. If we paid on the basis of what they truly earned, they'd all deserve raises.

    But we pay on the basis of market forces for all. That's the way our economy works. And all things considered - markets do better than governments stifling the market and trying to figure out the "proper" salary for everyone.

  30. Hello! Please post all the details about how much the new RSU 9 Superintendent Tina Meserve is being paid so that I may complain incessantly about it! Thank you in advance!

  31. Congratulations, Tina Merserve and welcome back to the district. Public education is such a tangled web of nonsensical policies and procedures. I hope that you are able to navigate through all the complicated tasks and lead this district to focus on working towards more positive education encouragement for the kids. One suggestion is to look closely at all the unnecessary technology that we provide to the kids in this district. One thing that needs to change is providing mac book airs for every student. Why do we provide these expensive devices to students when a simple inexpensive 150$ chrome book is all they need. Everything is in google docs or cloud storage and they don't use or need the preloaded programs on the Macs. I'm a teacher in another district (that pays more) but live here and have kids in SAD 9 who don't use their computers at home and have no use for them except to work in google drive or to check email. Why? The mac books make no sense to me other than they are overly expensive entertainment devices that are now thought to be as addictive as drugs. Anyway, welcome to the new position.

  32. She is being paid too much for her qualifications.