When Lewiston’s new Connors Elementary School, now under construction, opens in 2019, Longley Elementary School Principal Kristie Clark will be the principal. The new school will merge Longley and Martel elementary schools.

LEWISTON — When school opens Aug. 30, Kristie Clark will again greet Longley Elementary School students as their principal.

But a bigger job is in the wings.

When Lewiston’s new Connors Elementary School opens in 2019, she’ll be the principal, a position announced in March. The new school will house about 880 students from Longley and Martel schools.

She accepted the job “because I do believe in all of our kids,” she said.

“A larger school bringing two smaller schools together will provide students with many more opportunities, enrichment, growth in learning all around,” she said.

Martel and Longley are old, crowded schools that don’t have space for some programs, Clark said, and the new school will provide more learning opportunities.

The majority of students at Longley are English Language Learners; at Martel, ELL students are a minority. The new school is projected to have about a 33 percent ELL population.

Bringing together two school communities will be tough, Clark said, but she’s excited about the opportunities.

The two schools are working together with combined professional development for teachers. As for the school communities, “the Martel PTO has reached out to me,” she said. “Starting this fall, we’re doing combined PTO meetings with Longley.”

There will be some social events to bring the two school communities together, Clark said. 

Pupils attending the new school will find a top-notch facility and “teachers and staff who believe in them, who know what to do to be a highly effective school,” Clark said.

Current Longley programs, including proficiency-based learning and restorative practices, will continue.

Clark is a veteran Lewiston educator who taught at Montello Elementary School for 20 years.

In 2010, she made headlines when she was named the winner of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award for excellence in teaching. 

Not long after that, Clark was promoted to assistant principal at Geiger Elementary School. She then became director of Lewiston schools’ English Language Learners, working with the students of immigrant families.

Next, she was promoted to principal at Longley, a post she’s held for three years.

Clark, 48, grew up in Damariscotta and attended the University of Maine at Farmington. Her first teaching job was at Montello.

Her tip for students and parents for school success: “It’s all about routine, getting your kids to bed earlier. Getting them up. Making sure they have their backpacks set the night before so the morning isn’t a scramble.”

Lighter side

Her favorite movie: “Freedom Writers.”

Favorite food: Watermelon.

 
 
 

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