Heather Manchester was chosen unanimously Monday night to be the permanent superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 17 in Paris. She was named to the interim position in April 2022. Rose Lincoln/The Bethel Citizen

PARIS — Directors of Maine School Administrative District 17 voted unanimously Monday night to name interim Superintendent Heather Manchester to the permanent position.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and am honored to continue to serve the Oxford Hills community in this capacity,” she said in a statement Monday night.

She was appointed acting superintendent on Jan. 26, 2022, five days after Monica Henson was suspended amid controversies, investigations and a vote of no confidence by the district’s education association. After Henson resigned April 4, 2022, Manchester was named interim superintendent April 25, 2022.

Before her superintendent duties, she was curriculum director for eight years for the eight-town district.

Monday’s announcement was made by Judy Green of Waterford, who was chosen board chairperson Monday by a vote of 16-5. She succeeds Natalie Andrews of West Paris, who stepped down Dec. 31.

Green was nominated by Gary Smith of Oxford and Andrews seconded the nomination. No other nominations were made.


Voting against Green’s nomination were Bob Jewell, Troy Ripley and Christie Wessels, all of Paris, Peter Wood of Norway and Rose Lacasse of Harrison.

One of the Oxford Hills School District’s longest-tenured board members, Green was first elected in 2013.

“For those who don’t know me, I have been attending school board meetings since 1983,” Green said as she accepted the gavel from Vice Chairman Jared Cash of Norway. She was the adult and community education director for Oxford Hills for 38 years, “which was a job that I loved,” she said.

“In that job I got to know the community,” Green said. “We worked with people – new citizens, adults just learning how to read, carpenters who had been injured and now needed to learn a new trade, truck drivers, CNAs. We helped people who wanted to finish their high school diploma, get ready to attend college and also folks who wanted to learn watercolors, or fun stuff.

“I love this community and I am happy to go on serving,” she said. “This is important work that we do and thank you for your confidence in me.”

In other business, Finance Committee Chairman Jewell announced his resignation from the panel. The board voted unanimously to confirm Amanda Fearon of Hebron and Jennifer Russell of Paris to the open seats.


During her superintendent’s update, Manchester summarized steps taken to review, confirm and revise school safety procedures, clarified the district’s working lockdown protocols, and reported on a personnel issue regarding a student’s complaint against a substitute teacher at Oxford Hills Middle School that was referred to the Paris Police Department for investigation.

At the request of the Operations Committee, Scott Vlaun and John Dunn gave a presentation on strategies, challenges and available funding to improve energy efficiency, including investing in electric-powered school buses, solar power and conducting building audits.

The district has schools in Paris, Norway, Oxford, Otisfield, Hebron, Harrison, Waterford and West Paris, and a Central Office building in Paris and the Transportation Department garage in Norway.

The meeting began with Vice Chairman Jared Cash requesting a moment of silence for Nathan Merrill, a Paris Elementary School educator and South Paris resident who died suddenly Feb. 2, leaving behind his wife and four young children.

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