BETHEL — The SAD 44 Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Telstar Middle School visual arts teacher Melissa Prescott as project director and teacher for the Grade 9 Telstar Regional High School/University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center program.
Superintendent David Murphy said the program, which the SAD 44 board approved by a 15-1 vote on July 14, would “get more freshman students off-site and participating in innovative learning programs at the Learning Center” beside Lake Christopher in Woodstock.
Telstar Regional High School Principal Ann Bell said that although the board’s Personnel Committee was unable to meet, they were able to recommend Prescott as their choice for the position.
“We had six people apply, and we interviewed the four top candidates,” Bell said. “We had some really good candidates, but we felt that Melissa rose above. Her references followed up very nicely with us. Some of them said that she had a zeal for introducing new ideas to students, and a good talent for keeping students excited in school. She goes above and beyond to complete tasks,” she said.
“One reference that hit the nail right on the head said, ‘Melissa has a really open mind and will serve the district well in this highly innovative program,’” Bell added.
Murphy pointed out to the board and the residents in the audience that Prescott was responsible for organizing Telstar’s ArtReach event and the G.O.T. Farms after-school program.
“I think that Melissa is a great candidate for the position,” Murphy said. “She’s a great advocate for the kids and works very well with students.”
Murphy said the board would have to advertise for a long-term substitute for the middle school art teacher position while Prescott served in the program director position.
Prescott told the board she had been interested in “seeing a program like this for awhile now,” and she “shares the enthusiasm that the students have shown towards the program.”
“When my students were figuring out which program they wanted to raise awareness for, they actually chose the 4-H program,” Prescott said. “As a result, a lot of my eighth grade students are really excited about the program.”
In other business, the board also approved chemistry teacher Sarah Southam as district chemical hygiene officer for the 2014-15 school year, with a stipend of $500.
The officer is responsible for identifying, inventorying and securing chemicals in schools.