A Lisbon High School student speaks before the School Committee on Monday in support of music teacher Rick Beaulé, who is also president of the Lisbon teachers’ union. Beaulé and his wife, Jen, sit at center. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

LISBON — More than 50 staff members, students, parents, Maine Education Association officials, teachers and union members from other districts showed up Monday evening at a Lisbon School Committee meeting in support of Lisbon High School music teacher Rick Beaulé, who was dismissed from his position.

Following a lengthy public comment period, committee members approved a list of returning teachers that was submitted by Superintendent Richard Green. Beaulé’s absence from the list of contracts meant the committee’s vote of approval effectively terminated his employment. Only one committee member, newly elected Laura Craig, opposed the nomination list.

Rose Mahoney, Maine Education Association District 5 director, said in an interview that Beaulé’s dismissal is precarious considering he is also the president of the Lisbon Education Association, the teachers’ union for Lisbon schools. He was elected president in March 2022, reelected in June and is the union’s chief negotiator for a tumultuous collective bargaining negotiation that has been ongoing since September and is now in a fact-finding stage. Mahoney has been assisting LEA throughout the negotiations.

Hired in August 2021, Beaulé will now be leaving at the end of what was a two-year probationary period. Probation is typical for new hires to vet their ability to perform their duties. Mahoney and other Lisbon schools staff said Beaulé’s evaluation for the past year was exceptional. He scored 2.81 on a four-point scale, which equates to one level below the highest possible rating and is in keeping with prior reviews.

“The results of his evaluation would lead a person to believe that he is qualified for and should be promoted for a continuing contract,” Mahoney said. “We believe that this non-renewal has more to do with his success as a union leader than it does with any deficiency of teaching.”

Beaulé’s termination is also “representative of a pattern,” Mahoney said. Over the past eight years LEA has had six union presidents, four of whom have left the district citing “the difficulty and hopelessness of dealing with the Lisbon School Department” as among their reasons for leaving, she said.


Green said the district is seeking to fill the now vacant music teacher position.

An MEA spokesperson said after the meeting they will be filing a grievance with Lisbon schools on Beaulé’s behalf. LEA will be filing a prohibited practice complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board claiming Beaulé’s dismissal was due to union activity and not due to his performance as a teacher.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School teacher Dennis Boyd, also a chief negotiator for his union’s contracts, said Monday he attended the meeting mostly to support Beaulé but said he also came with a message for the School Committee.

“It’s chilling that someone involved with the association is magically not renewed,” Boyd said. “Chilling. It screams of union busting and I would highly advise that this panel of educated individuals looks into this just a little further for fear that other situations might come that are more expensive.”

Several students took to the podium Monday illustrating the character of a well-loved teacher responsible for bolstering students’ self-confidence and inspiring them to seek out challenges and work toward success. Many described his teaching and guidance as what enabled them to find their voices on the stage and before the committee.

Lisbon teachers hold signs in a show of support Monday for music teacher Rick Beaulé outside the Lisbon Town Hall before a School Committee meeting. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

Parents also attested to Beaulé’s accomplishments, crediting him with helping their children develop as individuals. Amy Albert, parent of Maggie Albert, a ninth-grader with Down Syndrome, said despite the intense presence of music in the home, her daughter only took an interest in it when Beaulé introduced her to the drums.


“So, we’ve got a drummer now who got to go to the drum circle, hear the music she loves … and learning the beat of what’s important,” Amy Albert said. “Nobody has done that for her. My daughter said tonight, ‘Where are you going?’ I told her and I asked (her), ‘What do you want me to say?’ She was like, ‘Drums are awesome. I love drum circle and I like what I do at the high school.’”

New hires, resignations, retirements, terminations and dismissals are all matters handled by administration and are brought before the School Committee for approval.

Mahoney said that when the district opts not to renew a teacher’s employment, the information is not conveyed to the board. However, the committee has the authority to be involved in the dismissal process and could have added Beaulé’s name to the nomination list of continuing contracts.

“So, it is disingenuous, I think, to say they have no role in personnel actions,” Mahoney said.

Craig, the committee member who voted against the list of continuing teachers’ contracts, said she was torn by the testimony provided by Beaulé’s students, families and colleagues. During the meeting, committee member Len Lednum vocalized his desire to revisit the subject in an executive session.

“It’s not what’s on here that I’m opposed to,” Craig said. “It’s what’s not on here. I don’t know what to do. It just feels like there could maybe be more, here. That was tough to watch and to hear.”


Committee Chairwoman Margaret Galligan-Schmoll, Vice Chairwoman Kim Labbe-Poisson and members Craig, Kelli Rogers and Lednum did not return requests for comments before or after the meeting.

Asked for a comment about the matter via email, Superintendent Green said, “I’m sure that you are well aware, our current policies and state statute protect and prohibit any personnel related information from being shared, so please understand that we are unable to respond at this time.”

Beaulé said after the meeting that he was feeling many emotions but was most moved by the amount of support he received.

“That was so amazing and touching. They all started hugging me after and sobbing,” he said. “I’ll never forget that as long as I live.”

Beaule’s wife, Jen, who was also at the meeting, recounted when they were living in Texas and the Lewiston native learned about his hiring in 2021. Jen said the move was quick, chaotic and expensive, but they pulled through.

“And here we are.”

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