FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Christian Elkington as superintendent.

The decision to approve a contract followed an executive session.

Elkington is superintendent of Maine School Union 76 in Deer Isle. He will succeed interim Superintendent Monique Poulin, who will return to her position as principal of Mt. Blue High School.

“This is the next right move for me,” Elkington said at the meeting. “I’ve watched from a distance RSU 9 for a number of years. I’ve always been impressed with the different programs and efforts that have been made in Mt. Blue, when it comes to music, when it comes to the arts, when it comes to trying to find the best way to educate kids.” 

Elkington said he is looking forward to working with the RSU 9 community at large and to going to events and celebrating students’ successes and looking at how they are able to manage and problem solve when things don’t necessarily go their way.

In other business, the board discussed plans for Mt. Blue High School to offer “diversity” in the kinds of social studies courses taught. 

Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia presented the plans during a reading of proposed changes to the graduation requirements. In addition to required courses on “American history, government, and economics,” MBHS students will have the opportunity to take half-credit courses on topics such as Indigenous studies, African-American studies, America at war, protests, activism and U.S. history, Maine history and culinary anthropology. Whether or not a course is taught will depend on how many students enroll.

Columbia said a student asked that the school “offer more variety and a focus not just on American or European history” with some diversity. The unnamed student was very driven and worked with teachers to create a “proposal for how to give students more choices during their time at Mt. Blue High School” and these potential courses were created, Columbia said. 

“Giving students some more choice usually leads to students feeling more ownership and success in the classes they choose because they have a choice, as well as the half credit system,” Columbia said. She also said that offering these courses through a “half-credit system” will help “students who are more successful in the first half of the year … and they hit a road block and they are not as successful.”

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