FARMINGTON — Mike Cormier’s passion is teaching and public education.

The 64-year-old Wilton man became interested in education as a child. Some of his high school teachers inspired him to go into the field.

Since then, he has spent more than 42 years sharing his knowledge with others.

“I enjoyed learning,” the retiring RSU 9 superintendent said. He also enjoyed social studies.

Cormier will retire on June 30 after 20 years of overseeing a school district that grew from nine to 10 towns with the addition of Starks last year.

An informal public reception for Cormier will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday June 3, at the Forum at Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington, where Mt. Blue High School and Foster Regional Career and Technical Education Center are located.

While others plan to wish him well on his retirement, Cormier is already making plans to stay involved in teaching and support public education after he leaves.

“I’ve always been very busy and very active,” he said.

He began his career teaching social studies, science and reading to sixth- through eighth-graders in Bradley, near Old Town. He went on to become a teaching principal at the Viola Rand School in Bradley and superintendent of the Deer Isle-Stonington Community School District, a “bridged island in Penobscot Bay.”

He became superintendent of the Searsport school system in 1985, leaving in 1993 to oversee SAD 9/RSU 9.

Under his leadership, the district saw more unified consistency in the schools, including creating a kindergarten-through-sixth-grade approach in the elementary school, a seventh-through-eighth-grade middle school and a ninth-through-12th-grade high school. When he arrived, the high school only served grades 10 through 12.

All children in the school system now have access to programs, instead of some being left out due to location, he said. That move also strengthened the district’s economical efficiency, he said.

At one point, the district offered an elementary foreign language program of French and Spanish to students in kindergarten through sixth grade for 10 years. It was cut four years ago due to budget constraints.

Talk had just begun about standards-based education when he arrived two decades ago, and staff continues to work on that goal.

Cormier has also overseen construction for the renovation project at the high school and the career and technical education center on Mt. Blue Campus. When the project is finished, the campus will include adult education and other educational programs.

“I’m very proud of the new school. I don’t like school construction projects, but they are necessary,” he said, especially when the funding is available.

During his watch, the Mt. Blue Middle School was renovated, and a new Mallett School was built. Former Assistant Superintendent Susan Pratt oversaw the latter project.

Besides hoping to continue to teach graduate courses in school finance and school law, he plans do some consulting work. He already put in his name for short-term superintendent work and would consider a position at a small school system that only needs a superintendent one or two days a week.

“I plan to be active at the Legislature to support public education,” he said. “They are my passion. They are my life.”

More adequate state funding is needed for schools to help reduce property taxes, he said.

“I’m proud to be part of a system that is focused on improving the lives of our children,” Cormier said. “I think it is a quality school system.”

His two children, Elizabeth, an industrial engineer, and Michael, who graduates in May from Bentley University in Massachusetts, both went through the school system. Cormier’s wife of 27 years, Susan Boyce-Cormier, is a gifted and talented teacher at Dirigo Elementary School in Dixfield.

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