It was Gallagher’s last official duty as superintendent of the Pittsfield-area district prior to his retirement on June 30. Gallagher has spent 35 years in education including 24 in SAD 53 as a teacher, elementary school principal and superintendent of schools. For a short time in 2009, he held the dual role of superintendent for SAD 59 in Madison, splitting his time between Madison and Pittsfield. He’ll now take the remainder of his accrued vacation time starting Tuesday, June 19.
But on a more serious note, Gallagher’s replacement has not been hired, even though he gave his notice to the Board of Directors last November. Director Michelle Hodgins said that while the search for his successor is still underway, “It’s not going to happen by the end of the month.”
The search committee has interviewed several candidates and conducted on-site visits to schools where potential candidates were employed as recently as last month.
Gallagher told the board that even though he will be on vacation until the end of the month, “I’ll still be available if you need me for anything. I’m still on the payroll.” But he cautioned them that the district needs to take action soon, even if it means hiring an interim superintendent before his permanent successor is named. Gallagher’s salary for the current school year is $95,780.
The Board of Directors did take action on the nominations of three teachers and the assistant principal of Warsaw Middle School. The board unanimously voted to hire Ashley Raymond of St. Albans as a first grade teacher at Vickery Elementary School; Chelsey Johnson, a Cape Elizabeth native, as a third grade teacher at Vickery; and Justin Hardy as a physical education teacher at Warsaw Middle School. Hardy has held a similar position at Dexter Middle School for the past two years.
Veteran teacher Sherry Littlefield’s nomination as Warsaw assistant principal was also unanimously approved by the Board of Directors. Littlefield has been with the district for 23 years, primarily as a seventh and eighth-grade teacher. In January, the board appointed her as the part-time assistant principal at the middle school, pending voter approval of the new school budget where the position was upgraded to full-time.
The board also heard reports from Vickery-Manson Park Principal Faye Anderson and Warsaw Middle School Principal Kristen Gilbert on the latest federal Adequate Yearly Progress report on reading and math scores.
Both principals noted that progress has been made, even though the schools still fall short of meeting academic achievement standards. Gilbert noted that one problem is that students with disabilities are required to take the tests without the traditional assistance given during regular classroom studies. Anderson added that it was “painful to watch some of these kids go through these tests. We used to be able to at least assist them with some of the questions, but we can’t do that anymore.”