2016-04-15 / Front Page

Cape announces finalists for super

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

Craig King Craig King CAPE ELIZABETH — The search for a new school superintendent in Cape Elizabeth has reached the home stretch, with just two names left on the list.

A Board of Education press release Monday evening, April 11, indicated the job would go to one of two current Maine superintendents from more rural parts of the state – either Steven Bailey, who leads the Central Lincoln County School System, or Craig King, head of RSU 10, a 12-town school district in Oxford County.

According to school board Chairman Elizabeth Scifres, both candidates will spend a day touring schools in town during the week of April 25, taking time to meet with students, staff, parents and residents.

Exact itineraries for each visit are still being finalized, Scifres said.

“Each representative brought careful consideration to the tasks at hand, being careful to honor all input from the various focus groups and surveys,” Scifres wrote in an April 11 email to parents and staff. “Every voice was heard, honored and weighed as we moved forward. Although we aren’t done yet, together we have reached a milestone in this process.”

Steven Bailey Steven Bailey The winning candidate will replace Meredith Nadeau, who has presided over Cape schools since June 2011. The director of instruction, special education, data assessment, curriculum and professional development in the Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham, New Hampshire when she was hired, Nadeau first publicly put out feelers for a transition one year ago. In January 2015, the school committee in Weston, Massachusetts, named her as one of three finalists for its top job – a position that ultimately went to someone else.

In February 2015, Cape Elizabeth extended Nadeau’s contract by one year, to June 2018, boosting her salary from $123,000 to $132,000.

“We almost lost her. We’d be fools not to do this,” school board member David Hillman was quoted saying at the time. “I don’t want to lose her, and I certainly don’t want to spend two years to find someone that’s half as good.”

Ultimately, Hillman did not get his wish. Nadeau submitted her resignation Jan. 12, saying she had accepted a superintendent’s position in Newmarket, New Hampshire.

“Certainly the board knows this has been a bittersweet decision for me,” Nadeau wrote in her resignation letter. “The district in New Hampshire happens to be the district where my grandmother and great-grandmother graduated from high school, which is a unique opportunity for me.”

A timeline released by the school board indicates a decision between Bailey and King should be made sometime in May, with the winner starting work in Cape Elizabeth at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1.

Bailey, who has logged 41 years in education, earned his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in Massachusetts, and a master’s degree, as well as a certificate of advanced graduate studies, from the University of Maine.

Bailey spent his first eight years as a teacher of health, physical education and math in the Penobscot County town of Veazie, followed by eight more as principal at a K-8 school in town.

After a stint as principal of an elementary school in Exeter, New Hampshire, Bailey spent 22 years in South Portland, first as principal of the Dora Small Elementary School in the city’s Willard Square neighborhood (from 1989 to 1998), then as director of curriculum (1998 to 2007), and finally as assistant superintendent (from 2007 to 2011).

Bailey current works as superintendent of the Central Lincoln County school system (also known as AOS 93), which serves the midcoast towns of Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Jefferson, Newcastle, Nobleboro and South Bristol. He was named Maine Superintendent-of-the-Year in 2014.

King presides over the Western Foothills School District (RSU 10), which includes Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield, Peru, Canton, Carthage, Buckfield, Sumner and Hartford, Roxbury, Byron and Hanover. Committees in four of those towns – Dixfield, Peru, Canton, and Carthage – have been working for more than a year on a plan to withdraw from RSU 10. Last month, the Department of Education gave the towns a May 2 deadline to submit a withdrawal plan.

King, who has a master’s degree, as well as a doctorate in educational leadership, from the University of Southern Mississippi, began his career in the Magnolia State, working his way up from social studies teacher in Jackson, Mississippi to assistant principal of a 700-student juniorsenior high school in Prentiss, Mississippi.

A native of Fort Kent – he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine campus there – King eventually returned to his home state, serving first as principal of Woodland Junior-Senior High School in the Washington County town of Baileyville from 1999 to 2004, then as principal of Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham from 2004 to 2013.

King has been superintendent of RSU 10 since July 2013.

Scifres has declined to say how many people applied for the superintendent job in Cape Elizabeth, claiming that a head count constitutes confidential information.

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