BETHEL — The School Administrative District 44 board of directors met Monday night to discuss numerous changes and improvements before school begins Aug. 31. 

New member Todd Wheeler of Bethel was present at the meeting. 

Superintendent David Murphy began by announcing the improvements made to the schools over the summer, including roof and ceiling repairs and adding new pavement. 

Murphy then announced with regret several resignations within the district. The school will need to hire the following personnel:

• New educational technicians;

• A middle school math teacher;


• A middle school English teacher;

• A new assistant superintendent of special education; and

• A bus driver. 

Resigning at the end of the 2016-17 school year are Levi Brown, principal and physical education teacher at Crescent Park Elementary School, and Jolene Littlehale, principal and Title 1 teacher at Woodstock Elementary School.                                     

“I plan on working really hard to change their minds,” Murphy said.

The new personnal nominated by Murphy and approved by the school board were as follows:


  •  The new science teacher for Telstar High School will be April Jo Cook.
  • The new part-time art teacher for all district elementary schools will be Ashley Oliver.

  • The new third grade teacher at Woodstock elementary will be Heather Zybas.

  • The new English teacher for Telstar Middle School will be Amy Lilly.

 The district has not yet found a new math teacher.

Murphy went on to announce changes to the district’s technology budget. Students in kindergarten through grade two will receive their own iPads, and students in grades three through 12 will each have access to a Macbook Air.

Murphy said the Telstar Freshman Academy, a partnership with the Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center in Bryant Pond, has potentially led to improved NWEA scores for those 55 students who participated in the program.

“Whether it was related to their participation in the program or not, either way, it’s good news,” Murphy said. 

An in-depth presentation of the program results will happen at the next meeting Sept. 12.

Elaine Ferland, educator effectiveness coach in association with the Teacher Incentive Fund grant, provided an overview of the grant’s programs and how they have affected the district’s educators.


The grant is federally funded and offers participating districts up to $5 million. This will be the fourth and final year SAD 44 is taking part in the program. 

Ferland highlighted the conferences teachers and administrators attended this summer and the perks of the program. Through the grant, teachers have gained knowledge and guidance on creating assessments in their classrooms, and administrators, on evaluating practices of the teachers.

Each district educator will undergo at least two observations: one announced and one unannounced. They will take place this coming year. 

School safety consultant Scott Parker assisted in developing and improving the district’s safety plan for emergency situations.

The new plan includes more accessible entries for public safety, a special film for front office windows in Crescent Park and Woodstock, and extensive training for school staff.

Also new is an announcement system in times of emergency, activated by a panic button in the main office, complete with strobe lights in loud locations, such as the music room or the gymnasium.

“Everything we said we were going to (do) last year, we did,” Parker said. 

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