New Lewiston High Principal: Jake Langlais

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Jake Langlais has jumped from being the principal at Lewiston Middle School to principal of Lewiston High School. 

LEWISTON — New high school Principal Jake Langlais is eager to work with staff and students as he takes over for Shawn Chabot, now assistant superintendent. 

Last year, Langlais was principal of Lewiston Middle School, a post he held for two years.

Langlais agreed to lead the high school in part, he said, to again work with high school students. Before 2015, he was a teacher and administrator at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center.

Serving as high school principal will give him a bigger opportunity to have a positive impact on more kids, Langlais said. The student enrollment at the high school is 1,400; Lewiston is among the largest high schools in Maine.

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“I have a lot of learning to do about the school this year,” Langlais said. “I’ll be working to learn the ropes, figure out how the high school works. The school has a ton of good staff. I want them included in decision-making as we shift to Performance-Based Learning. I’m hoping to be a catalyst in that effort.”

He’s received praise from students and adults for the two years he was middle school principal. The school community suffered a tragedy in November when a student was hit and killed by a pickup while walking to school. Langlais spoke directly to students in the auditorium that morning to tell them what happened.

“I watched him perform all day long with the staff, students, the media, parents and phone calls, endlessly,” said School Committee Chairwoman Linda Scott. “What I saw more than anything else was leadership from Jake.”

He’s connected with students and shows his human side, she said.

In December, Langlais encouraged students to “stick it to him” by taping him to the wall with duct tape to raise money for needy families during the holidays. Langlais stood on milk crates for two hours as he was taped, which prompted laughter from students at a time when the school needed a lift, he said.

In March, when the temperature dipped to 11 degrees, he spent a night sleeping in a tent pitched in front of the school, part of a challenge to encourage students to read.

In May, he led the school through another painful tragedy when a student committed suicide.

“The work he did at the middle school, Proficiency-Based Learning, restorative practices and dealing with some of the challenges we’ve had, these are the type of skills we need and value at the high school,” Superintendent Bill Webster said.

“One of the great things about Jake is he already knows half of the students at the high school,” Webster said. “He is strong in his staff and student relationships; it will allow him to start with a strong footing.”

Langlais, 38, grew up in Sanford. After graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington, he and his wife worked as therapeutic foster parents in a Spurwink home for behavioral needs youths in Lewiston. He then worked as an LRTC teacher and administrator.

Langlais’ success tip for students: As the school year begins, one of the most important things students should do is get into a routine. “Be in bed as early as possible. Sleep before midnight is beneficial for brain development. Then, get up earlier than you need to. Develop a routine.”

Students start arriving at school at 7:25 a.m.; the bell rings at 7:45 a.m.

“It’s a big shift from summer,” he said. 

Open house at Lewiston High School: Sept. 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for all grades.

Lighter side

Langlais’ favorite movies: “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Lion King.”

Favorite food: Pizza and chicken parmesan. 

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