PARIS — School Administrative District 17 continues to rebuild its administrative team with the addition of a new interim curriculum director.

SAD 17 has hired Jill Bartash to be the district’s interim curriculum director. Bartash worked in RSU 10 as Rumford Elementary School’s principal for the past 12 years. Submitted photo

The board of directors unanimously voted to approve the appointment of Jill Bartash for the position, which has been vacant since Chief Curriculum Officer Heather Manchester was tapped to step in as interim superintendent in January.

Bartash has worked at RSU 10 for the last 12 years as principal of Rumford Elementary School. Before that she worked in the Auburn school system.

She told the Advertiser Democrat she has been looking to transition her career from school to central office administration. Having collaborated with Manchester and other SAD 17 staff in the past, Bartash is a known and well-respected entity, according to Melanie Ellsworth, SAD 17’s director of federal programs.

“I am over the moon excited about Jill (coming to Oxford Hills),” Ellsworth told directors after they voted in favor of Bartash’s appointment. She added that Bartash brings a valuable level of expertise to the district.

Manchester was unable to attend Monday night’s meeting. Chief Student Services Officer Jan Neureuther sat in for Manchester as the administrative representative.


Neureuther relayed to the the board during the superintendent’s update that Oxford Hills Middle School Principal Brian Desilets is leaving the district for a position in Key West, Florida. Assistant Principal Jessica McGreevy has been appointed interim principal. Torrey Poland, who recently transferred from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School to be dean of students at OHMS, was appointed interim assistant principal.

In other business, Neureuther informed directors that Manchester is working on an onboarding handbook for new administrators hired in SAD 17 and, with the district’s technology department, is making changes to clarify and streamline onboarding for all new employees ahead of implementing software to digitize the process.

Directors also approved creating an additional prekindergarten teacher position at Guy E. Rowe Elementary School, where enrollments are projected to increase. The position will be funded by the district’s contingency fund. It is expected that the number of pre-K students at Rowe will soon exceed the number allowed in one class, so while the new position is not budgeted it will be legally required. The estimated total compensation package will be $85,500.

Steve Ciembroniewicz, who was recently hired as assistant superintendent for Oxford Hills school district, will begin at the central office on Aug. 15. Ciembroniewicz will immediately start a comprehensive review of school safety plans. He will also establish a steering committee to review the district’s comprehensive health, safety and emergency plan.

During the questions/comments period, Director Stacia Cordwell of Oxford asked about the Maine Department of Education state building committee’s tours of Agnes Gray Elementary School in West Paris and Oxford Hills Middle School’s campuses in Paris and Oxford. Both schools need to be replaced. Director and Operations Committee Chairman Lew Williams of Hebron said the state building committee will make its recommendations to Maine DOE at the end of this month.

One possible scenario for West Paris is that Maine DOE could recommend closing Agnes Gray and consolidating the school with Paris Elementary School. Oxford Hills will not be bound to follow the state’s recommendation, but the cost of building a new community school without state support would be at the district’s expense.

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