RUMFORD — Regional School Unit 10 Superintendent Deb Alden announced the resignation of Rumford Elementary School Principal Jill Bartash at Monday’s board meeting.

Bartash has accepted a position as curriculum coordinator for the Oxford Hills School District in Paris, Alden said.

“As much as we wish her well, it’s going to be huge shoes to fill,” Alden said.

Last month, Meroby Elementary School Principal Kim Fuller resigned to become principal at Turner Primary School, which is part of Maine School Administrative District 52, which includes Greene and Leeds. She was a teacher for 11 years and was principal at Meroby for six.

Jodi Ellis, a teacher with 22 years of experience at Tripp Middle School in Turner, was hired as principal of Meroby on July 21. Chris Brennick was hired last month as assistant principal at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico. Brennick was previously a teacher at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. He succeeds Cheryl Gurney, the new middle school principal.

Gurney has taught at the school since 2010 and was assistant principal since 2012. She succeeded Ryan Casey, who resigned in May.


Although the district has “done an incredible amount of hiring,” Alden said there are still more jobs to be filled.

“We currently have five to six ed tech openings, we have several elementary teacher openings, we have a couple special ed teacher positions, social work positions and a teacher of the gifted and talented” program, she said.

Another need, she said, is a school bus to replace one involved in an accident in Mexico in June.

Montana Barrett, the bus driver, suffered a head injury when the empty bus he was operating slammed into a storage building at the Mexico One Stop store at 1 Harlow Hill Road. Barrett suffered a medical episode before the bus crash, a police officer at the scene said.

Following a discussion between Alden and Director Michelle Casey of Buckfield, the board decided to meet with the building, grounds and transportation staff for their input before deciding on a three-year bus lease for $77,566.

A new bus would cost about $126,000. The district’s insurance has paid $48,434 for the bus replacement and the state will reimburse the district for the $77,566 difference, she said.


During public comment at the meeting at Mountain Valley High School, two district residents addressed their concerns about a quote on an anti-racism website by the late activist Angela Davis and “transgender indoctrination” being taught in schools.

Heather MacDonald of Rumford and Carol Daigle of Mexico have spoken regularly at board meetings since March, disagreeing with the district’s curriculum on matters of race and sexuality.

RSU 10 has an Anti-Racism Education Advisory Group comprised of educators, school board members, parents and community members who are committed to supporting and supplementing the efforts of the district to address racism and center anti-racism in its schools, according to its website.

On Monday, MacDonald asked directors about a quote by Davis written on the Western Foothills Anti-Racism Education Advisory website.

The quote, under the “materials” heading, says: “I’m no longer accepting the things that cannot change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

It was “a nice sounding quote,” MacDonald said, who added that she learned Davis’ political beliefs included communism.


According to Wikipedia, Davis was a member of the Communist Party USA from 1969 to 1991.

“Why would you put a quote from a communist on the website?” MacDonald asked.

Alden said schools would not teach children to be communists.

“We would teach about it and wouldn’t teach to (become a communist). Just like we would teach about different religions. We would teach the history. It would not be teaching to do anything specific,” Alden said.

Daigle said she felt students are being taught “transgender indoctrination” and “gender dysphoria, which the Mayo Clinic and other Psychiatric Associations considers a mental illness.”

According to, “The diagnosis was created to help people with gender dysphoria get access to necessary health care and effective treatment. The term focuses on discomfort as the problem, rather than identity.”

Matthew Martin of Farmington also spoke, saying directors should ask themselves why there are so many teaching and educational technician positions that can’t be filled. He did not suggest any answers.

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