FARMINGTON — Someone overheard Monique Poulin speaking French when she was 22 at a restaurant in Skowhegan. Soon after, she ended up with a job as a French teacher at Skowhegan Area High School.

“I am forever grateful of that,” Poulin, the principal of Mt. Blue High School, said. “It was a great opportunity.

An education path had not been on her radar before then, she said.

“I kind of stumbled into the field of education,” she said. She went to Boston College and earned a degree in economics. Since then, she has earned a master’s degree in the education field.

Poulin, 46, of Kingfield was born in New Delhi, India. Her father worked for the U.S. Department of State as an economist. She spent three years there before the family moved to Africa for six years.

She went to a French school in Africa for three years. The family moved to Skowhegan when she was 12.

She graduated from Skowhegan Area High School and will be returning there as its new principal. She will leave RSU 9 on June 30 after spending 15 years in administrative positions at the middle and high schools.

Poulin is looking forward to new learning and challenges, she said.

The Skowhegan school has 830 students compared to 700 at Mt. Blue.

“I think it is going to help me develop as an educator and become a stronger professional,” Poulin said. “Mt. Blue is my professional home so it is very bittersweet to me.”

In addition to being principal of Mt. Blue, she is the coordinator of the Mt. Blue Campus, which includes the high school, Foster Career and Technical Education Center and the Adult Learning Center, which also offers courses from Central Maine Community College.

She has seen the district through the $65 million, three-year building project at the campus.

During her first two years as high school principal, she worked on the design phase of the construction project with Glenn Kapiloff, director of Foster tech center, former Superintendent Mike Cormier, David Leavitt, RSU 9 director of support services, the Maine Department of Education and PDT Architects of Portland.

She had no idea what the school was going to look like, she said.

“When you see something on paper it is hard to imagine what it looks like,” she said.

During the construction process, her one goal was the safety of the staff and students, she said.

“We also put a priority on climate and culture to make sure people didn’t get down with all of the construction and allow them to focus on education,” she said. “At one point, we had three islands.”

During construction, some classes were held in the more than 20 portable classroom units — nicknamed “the condos” — in the parking lot, in a new wing and the then existing three-story academic wing.

“We worked incredibly well with the general contractor, Wright-Ryan, to try and proactively address things,” she said. “I’m a very organized person and I try really hard to be proactive with communication. I kept track of where teachers were teaching and students.”

She kept students and staff up-to-date on the construction project.

“It was all worth it because we now have wonderful opportunities for our students and the community,” she said.

She expects tears at graduation, but says it’s normal. Two graduations will be held this year: Friday, June 6, to accommodate some athletes who are competing in the state track meet June 7, the date of the regular graduation.

“Graduation is my favorite day of the year because we are celebrating 13 years of education. Every bit of work we all put into this profession is celebrated on that day,” Poulin said.

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