FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors voted Tuesday to hire a Skowhegan Area Middle School social studies teacher to be the principal of Mt. Blue Middle School starting in the 2016-17 school year.

The board’s Administrator Evaluation Committee recommended Jason Bellerose. He will replace Principal Gary Oswald, who is retiring when his contract expires at the end of this school year. Oswald has been an educator at the school for 30 years, 18 as principal.

Bellerose’s starting salary will be $87,500. 

The district received nine applications for the position. An interview committee that included members of the Administrator Evaluation Committee, teachers, parents, Superintendent Tom Ward and Assistant Superintendent Leanne Condon interviewed five finalists and chose Bellerose as the No. 1 candidate.

Bellerose has been an educator for 16 years in Regional School Unit 54. He is currently a social studies teacher at Skowhegan Area Middle School, a position he has held for 14 years. Bellerose is team leader of the Somerset Community at the school. He was also an alternative education teacher for two years at the same school.

According to information found on the RSU 54 website, Bellerose wrote, “It is important to me for my students to be prepared for the challenges of high school and what life has to offer. To do this, the social studies students will learn organizational tools, literacy skills, and be able to use inquiry based learning to problem solve individually or in a group. My goal is for my students to gain confidence in their abilities using a relaxed, fun, energetic, positive, and open-minded environment.”

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