SALEM TOWNSHIP — Regional School Unit 58 directors began the 2014-15 fiscal year Tuesday night by welcoming the new superintendent and a new Phillips director.

Erica Brouillet, formerly an assistant superintendent in a Massachusetts school district, replaces Brenda Stevens, who retired in June. Brouillet told directors she has met with district staff and has enjoyed learning about the area communities. She also has talked with some community members, including parents.

“I appreciate the warm welcome I’ve gotten,” she said.

Each of her conversations has been different, she said, but each has been “uncommonly kind and respectful.”

The board elected Phillips director Dan Worcester as chairman and Jason Plog of Avon as vice chairman.

Directors agreed to continue the tradition of rotating their monthly summer and fall meetings among the four schools. Brouillet will finalize a schedule of dates and locations.

Brouillet also swore in newly elected Phillips director Lori Berry. Former Phillips director Diana Thomas’ term expired and she did not run again.

Brouillet suggested that directors become familiar with executive sessions and the proper citing of cause for deliberations. Routine subjects include employment-related matters; student suspension or expulsion; condition, acquisition or use of property; labor contracts; consultation with legal counsel; and confidential matters.

Directors turned to appointments and committee assignments for the coming year. Finance Manager Luci Milewski will serve as the affirmative action officer.

Facilities Manager Tim Sorel will serve as the asbestos officer and integrated pesticide control officer. Brouillet will serve as the truant officer and science teacher Peter Manning will be the chemical officer.

Brouillet also suggested that directors review current committee assignments and duties.

“I want to be sure work that is done by committees is valued by other directors,” she said.

Some committees may be ad hoc, dissolving when their particular job is finished. Others may be permanent and report to the entire board on specific issues.

She suggested an academic committee could replace the Curriculum Committee. The common assessment standards have to be standardized among all teachers and administrators, so each child will enter Mt. Abram High School with equal educational standards, which goes beyond Curriculum Committee responsibilities.

A proposed preschool committee should be a community-based planning group, directors agreed, with board members participating in an unofficial capacity.

Several directors noted they had been contacted by constituents to indicate their support of a preschool program, and the voters agreed in the June referendum vote to set aside $30,000 to begin the planning process.

Directors also reviewed ways to bring current district policies up to date, with a goal to review and become more familiar with all of them. Job descriptions will be more clearly defined. Some policies could be out of date if state laws had changed.

“We have policies that haven’t been reviewed since 1973,” Strong director Rupert Pratt said. “It’s got to happen.”

Directors agreed that public relations should be the entire board’s responsibility and the website www.msad58.org should reflect the good things happening in the individual schools and in the district.

A volunteer coordinator position was not funded for this school year, but Brouillet suggested the board might consider ways to find funding to bring the community into the schools.

Directors told Brouillet the district has not had a negotiations committee for dealing with staff contracts.

Brouillet said she understands that some directors might find they have personal conflicts, but directors should have a more formal process for contract negotiations than relying on volunteers each year.


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