Telstar High School has new dean of students

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The SAD 44 School Board on Monday unanimously approved the nomination of Kristin Chambers Dacko as Telstar High School’s new dean of students.

The position was previously held by Cheryl Lang, who was named last month as the new principal of THS.

“We feel very, very fortunate to have such a great candidate to bring before you,” Superintendent David Murphy told board members.

Dacko comes to the district from SAD 17, where she has worked for the past seven years and has gained a variety of experience, he said.

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“Kristin has had a very successful experience in SAD 17. She has been a department head, and she has been a team leader. She has been involved in a lot of leadership activities. She is currently a science teacher, and has been active in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).”

Through her work with SAD 17, Dacko has been involved with the Roberts Farm project, as well as with the 4-H Learning Center in Bryant Pond.

“She has a thorough knowledge of curriculum, and an interest in investing in her own community of Bethel,” Murphy said, adding, “She is a Bethel resident and is excited to be working in her own backyard.”

Dacko was chosen from among 13 initial applicants for the position by a committee consisting of Lang, TMS Principal Mark Kenney, and THS Science Teacher Sarah Southam. The committee conducted interviews of four candidates.

Two candidates met for second interviews with Murphy, Lang, and Assistant Superintendent Paula Leavitt, who unanimously selected Dacko.

“I am excited to join the SAD 44 community,” said Dacko, who told the School Board that she and her husband have lived in Bethel for the past six years and are committed to the area.

“I’ve been very fortunate over the last seven years to work for SAD 17, and they’ve given me plenty of opportunities to shine, so I’m excited to bring that here, and to work with Cheryl [Lang] again, as we did work together in the past,” she said.

Murphy said Dacko will be given a two-year contract with a total salary of $51,078 in the first year. This follows the format, established when the Dean of Students position was created, of “placement on the appropriate salary schedule, plus a $10,000 stipend,” he said.

Dacko will receive the same benefits as other district administrators, including full health insurance coverage for up to two adults. The salary for the second year of the contract will be negotiated following completion of the first year.

Murphy told the board that Dacko is currently still employed by SAD 17, which, under the terms of her contract, can hold her for up to 30 days.

“They will be working to see if they can release her earlier than that,” he said, noting, “it’s just something that happens when someone who is currently employed by another district gets hired after August 1.”

Other staff changes

Murphy told the Board that former THS Dean of Students Charles Raymond, who retired from that position at the end of the 2013-14 school year, will return to Telstar as the alternative learning activities coordinator, an Ed Tech 3 position that is funded primarily through the district’s Gear Up grant.

The Board approved the nomination of Woodstock Elementary School Grade Two Teacher Sara Johnson to a second-year probationary contract for the 2015-16 school year.

Due to a reduction in staff, Murphy said, “Sara was the only teacher at the end of last year that we were not able to bring back.”

However, the resignation of CPS Grade One Teacher Tiffany Colby and the transfer of Megan Smith to that position from WES allowed Johnson to be called back to the same position she held during the previous school year.

Directors also approved the nominations of Tamara Douglas, TMS special education teacher; Robert Dow, TMS science teacher; and Kathleen Chiasson, CPS third grade teacher.

Douglas, who is certified in special education, has been a long-term substitute at RSU 16 in Poland and has worked with special needs students at the Spurwink School.

Dow has 20 years of experience as a middle school science teacher and coach. He will fill a position vacated by former TMS Science Teacher William Caddigan, who has taken over the TMS Title I staff position, Murphy said.

Chiasson has been a long-term substitute at CPS, serving on two separate occasions for as long as 14 weeks, and is very familiar with the school’s procedures and reporting systems, said former CPS Teaching Principal Levi Brown.

The following were approved as curriculum leaders for the 2015-16 school year: Grades K-5 Math, Tanya Nicols and Jessica Wilkey; Grades K-5 Science, Tonya Prentice; Grades 6-8 Humanities, Lindsay Luetje; Grades 6-8 Math, Tammy Davis; Grades 6-8 Science, Kate Slattery; Grades 9-12 English, Melissa Poston; Grades 9-12 Social Studies, David Leclerc; Grades 9-12 Math, Susan Owens; Grades 9-12 Science, Sarah Southam.

Murphy announced the resignations of Colby and CPS Ed Tech 3 Deanna Bennett.

THS math position still open

The Board tabled action on approval of a math teacher for THS due to a lack of candidates.

“We’re very concerned. We’ve been advertising for a math teacher for a couple of months now,” said Murphy, who told directors that applicants have already found jobs by the time their applications have been received.

He said the district will continue to seek a high school math teacher, but has also advertised for math ed techs to support THS Math Teacher Susan Owens in the event one cannot be found.

If a math teacher is hired, Murphy said, that person would be brought in first as a long-term substitute, pending approval of the Board at their Sept. 14 meeting.

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