WINTHROP — Winthrop Public Schools will begin the school year with two new principals and an acting superintendent for a month, but it is not the only district in central Maine experiencing last-minute administrative changes. 

At the Winthrop School Committee meeting Wednesday night, Superintendent Jim Hodgkin announced Lori Small had been hired as principal at Winthrop Middle School and Jay Dufour as principal at Winthrop High School.

The hires mark new leadership at two of the district’s three schools, while the short-term appointment of a new superintendent portends Hodgkin’s retirement at the end of the academic year.

For Hodgkin to collect retirement benefits, the district requires him to take a 30-day separation from his job. 

He decided to do so in September, and Regional School Unit 38’s Superintendent Jay Chartette is to step in for the month. The School Committee approved the plan Wednesday. 

“We are required to have someone, and Jay is willing to do that,” Hodgkin said Wednesday. 


Mark Campbell, the former principal at Winthrop High School, resigned in early July, as did Winthrop Middle School’s principal, Susan Pilote. The School Committee did not say at its July 6 meeting why Campbell and Pilote resigned. 

Dufour was previously assistant superintendent at Lewiston Public Schools, and Small lives in the community but was a principal in the Augusta Public School District. 

Both incoming leaders spoke at Wednesday’s meeting about their eagerness for their new roles and how their first day at work Tuesday went well. They said they felt comfortable with their administrative colleagues.

“Looking around the room (at the school committee meeting) and seeing there is someone I either hired or moved to another position — one of the things I love is to hire and build a high-functioning team and schools,” Hodgkin said Wednesday night. “Adding Lori and Jay has really done that.”

Winthrop is not the only school district that is to see changes in September.

In Gardiner-based Maine School Administrative District 11, Hope St. Dennis is to begin as assistant principal at Gardiner Regional Middle School. St. Dennis has been with the district for more than 20 years, and said she “found her second home” at the middle school, where she has been a special education and social studies teacher, among other roles. 


At Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School in MSAD 11, Tiffany Cockrell is to serve as interim principal until the district identifies a long-term leader. Cockrell has worked for MSAD 11 for more than 12 years and said the pride in MSAD 11 is her reason for staying.

“The pride of MSAD 11 shines through in its schools, its leadership, its school board, its staff, its students and its families, and it is the heart of the community,” she wrote in a letter in June, when announcing her role.

In Augusta, Mike Tracy, the former superintendent in Regional School Unit 74, based in North Anson, has been named assistant superintendent, succeeding Katy Grondin, who left Augusta Public Schools to serve as superintendent in Regional School Unit 4, based in Wales.

Last week, Superintendent Matt Gilbert stepped down in Hallowell-based Regional School Unit 2, effective in September. Gilbert filled in as interim superintendent earlier this year when Tonya Arnold took a leave of absence and later resigned.

Gilbert was officially hired by the district in July and brought encouragement to community members during a period of turmoil, especially as Richmond continues the process of withdrawing from the school district.

Also in RSU 2, Sara Derosby has been named principal at Hall-Dale Elementary School, succeeding Kristie Clark, who has accepted the role of assistant superintendent.

Derosby was previously principal at the district’s Dresden Elementary School.

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