LIVERMORE FALLS — A man with deep roots in the Jay/Livermore Falls area was selected Thursday night as the first principal of the soon-to-be-one-campus Spruce Mountain High School.
Thomas Plourde, 37, of Jay will begin his duties March 4. He was granted a two-year contract at an undisclosed salary.
He will come to Regional School Unit 73 from Carrabec High School in Anson where he has served as assistant principal for almost two years. Prior to that, he taught health education at Skowhegan High School and Edward Little High School in Auburn.
He graduated from Jay High School in 1994, then served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years before attending the University of Maine at Farmington, from which he graduated.
During 12 years of teaching, he served as a reserve officer for the Livermore Falls Police Department.
Plourde was one of 10 applicants and among five who were interviewed for the position.
"I’m so excited to be coming back to the community,” he said following the board meeting. “I saw a huge opportunity for this area with the communities coming together. I see an unbelievable future for the kids where we know we can go above and beyond to make the educational experience better than any other.”
Plans are to bring all students from the Livermore Falls campus to the Jay school at the beginning of school year 2013-14. When they are together, enrollment will be about 500 in grades nine through 12.
Residents will vote next month on a $1.8 million renovation and construction project for the Jay campus that will accommodate all students.
Jay Elementary Principal Chris Hollingsworth has served as acting principal at the Jay campus since interim Principal Gilbert Eaton resigned in November. Steve Leunig, who also applied for the principal position, is interim principal at the Livermore Falls campus.
The board had planned to advertise for an assistant principal/athletic director for the high school, as well, but decided to wait until further possibilities could be studied.
Superintendent Robert Wall said a decision on whether to hire someone for that position, or perhaps find some other configuration was postponed until the next board meeting on Jan. 10, at which time the board is expected to begin the budget development process for school year 2013-14.
The board also extended the contracts for two years for Livermore Elementary Principal Robert Kahler, Jay Elementary Principal Chris Hollingsworth and Spruce Mountain Middle School Principal Scott Albert.