Peru principal picked to head tech school

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MEXICO – Brenda Gammon said Wednesday that she is thrilled to be named the new director of the Region 9 School of Applied Technology.

The school board announced Tuesday night that it had unanimously appointed the Peru Elementary School principal from among six applicants.

“There is real excitement about her coming. She is highly respected and everyone believes we got a master stroke of luck to get her,” Chairman Norman Clanton said Wednesday afternoon.

Gammon, who lives in Peru, graduated from Dirigo High School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Maine System, along with a certificate in administrative leadership. She plans to begin a doctoral program next year.

For now, she will learn the ropes of running a vocational school and overseeing a $4.9 million renovation and building project.

Gammon has more than 20 years serving the Peru Elementary School, the last seven as principal. Her professional focus has been on elementary education.

Clanton said that although she does not have a lot of experience in vocational education, she has considerable hands-on vocational experience.

“She is interested in continuing her education – that’s a neat thing, having the director with that kind of leadership,” he said.

Gammon has served on policy committees in SAD 21 that have involved high school students, and has supervised work study students.

She comes from a family of educators, including a brother, Charles Swan, who is the assistant principal at Dirigo High School.

“I’m excited to be able to work with these vocational students,” she said.

She said the Peru school has been like a family, but now, with her new job, she expects to start another school family.

“There’s a wonderful staff at Region 9, and people have been calling me to congratulate me. I got a good feeling from the board Tuesday night,” she said.

She will receive the same salary as her predecessor, David Driscoll, or about $81,000 a year including benefits.

Driscoll will finally be able to retire.

“Retirement is a huge transition and I regret not seeing the building project go up, but I’ve been commuting from Westbrook for the past few months,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Driscoll had planned to retire several months ago, but the first round of applicants fell through, so he agreed to stay on.

“It’s wonderful that the board found someone local, especially someone with a lot of administrative experience. The board was pleased,” Driscoll said.

“Dave has really stepped up to the plate,” Clanton said.

Driscoll began his tenure with the vocational school in December 2004.

SAD 21 is in the midst of a project to build a school for all district elementary students. With Gammon leaving, it is expected that Dixfield Elementary Principal Kathy Richard will also serve as principal of Peru Elementary School during the interim.

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