DIXFIELD — The RSU 10 board Monday night agreed to contract the Maine School Management Association to assist in the search for a new superintendent.

Tom Ward has been superintendent of RSU 10 for the past four years and of SAD 21 for six years before that. He was hired for that position in RSU 9 in Farmington starting July 1.

The RSU 10 board must establish a superintendent search committee, MSMA representative Sandra MacArthur said. That will be done soon after a workshop within the next couple to weeks to determine the skills, attributes and other characteristics wanted in a superintendent.

She said filling the position will likely not be done by the end of the school year.

“As veteran superintendents leave, it’s getting harder and harder to get them,” she said. There are 20 openings statewide now, she said.

MSMA has a list of retired superintendents, one of whom could serve as an interim while RSU 10 searches. She said finding the right person for the district is extremely important.

“If you don’t make the right match, then you go back out and go with an interim,” she said.

She said one way to hire a superintendent without advertising would be to hire from within.

For more than an hour, MacArthur walked the board through more than 50 pages of considerations, confidentiality requirements, timelines for advertising and how to get started with the search.

“Confidentiality is one of the most difficult (things) to keep. In Maine, especially, it is so small. It’s so hard to keep candidates’ names confidential,” she said.

RSU 10 is one of the largest districts in the state and because of that, the board should expect to pay $10,000 to $15,000 more than the average $109,400 salary in Maine, she said.

RSU 10 towns are Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru, Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner, Byron, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Hanover.

Good bye letter

When Tom Ward decided to take the position of superintendent of RSU 9 in Farmington, he sent staff and board members the following email.

“Dear RSU 10 Family,

It is with a very heavy heart and with very mixed emotions that I need to inform you that I have been approved as the next Superintendent of RSU 9, the Mt. Blue Regional School District. Many of you know that I graduated from Mt. Blue High School, was a teacher/coach, Asst. Prin./AD and the Principal of Mt. Blue HS for eight years, and presently live in the district.

“While it is exciting to return home it is equally as painful to leave a district I am so proud of. We have accomplished so much in a short period of time. All I can say to you is that it was something that I felt I needed to do. I will be your Superintendent until June 30th and continue working as hard as I can to ‘stay the course’ with the great things we are doing for kids. Please remember that I am going to be just next door and I will always love my RSU 10 Family.

Dr. Tom”

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