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 a curriculum coordinator for the Oxford Hills School District in Paris, Alden said.
“While we wish him luck, it will be huge shoes to fill,” Alden said.
Meroby Elementary School principal Kim Fuller stepped down last month to become principal of Turner Elementary School, part of Maine’s School Administrative District 52, which includes Greene and Leeds. She was a teacher for 11 years and director of Meroby for six years.
Jodi Ellis, a teacher with 22 years of experience at Tripp Middle School in Turner, was hired as Meroby’s principal on July 21. Chris Brennick was hired last month as vice-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 college’s new principal.
Gurney has taught at the school since 2010 and served as vice principal since 2012. She took over from Ryan Casey, who stepped down in May.
Although the district has “done an incredible amount of hiring,” Alden said there are still more jobs to fill.
“We currently have five to six education technology openings, we have several elementary teacher openings, we have a few special education teaching positions, social work positions and a gifted and talented teacher program “, she said.
Another need, she said, is a school bus to replace the one involved in an accident in Mexico in June.
Montana Barrett, the bus driver, suffered a head injury when the empty bus he was driving crashed into a storage building at the Mexico One Stop store at 1 Harlow Hill Road. Barrett suffered a medical episode prior to the bus crash, a police officer at the scene said.
Following a discussion between Alden and Principal Michelle Casey of Buckfield, the council decided to meet with building, grounds and transport staff to get their input before deciding on a three-year bus lease for $77,566.
A new bus would cost around $126,000. District insurance paid $48,434 for the bus replacement and the state will reimburse the district for the $77,566 difference, she said.
During public comments at the meeting at Mountain Valley High School, two district residents raised concerns about a quote on an anti-racism website by the late activist Angela Davis and the “transgender indoctrination” 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 agenda on issues of race and sexuality.
RSU 10 has an Anti-Racism Education Advisory Group made up of educators, school board members, parents, and community members who are committed to supporting and complementing the district’s anti-racism efforts and center anti-racism in its schools, according to its website. .
On Monday, MacDonald asked administrators about a quote from Davis written on the Western Foothills Anti-Racism Education Advisory website, https://www.westernmainearea.org/for-educators.
The quote, under “materials,” reads, “I no longer accept things that cannot change.” I change the things that I cannot accept.
It was “a beautiful quote,” said MacDonald, who added that she learned that 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 site?” MacDonald asked.
Alden said schools would not teach children to be communists.
“We would teach about it and not teach about (becoming a communist). Just as we would teach different religions. We would teach history. It wouldn’t teach to do anything specific,” Alden said.
Daigle said she felt the students were learning about “transgender indoctrination” and “gender dysphoria, which the Mayo Clinic and other psychiatric associations consider a mental illness.”
According to mayoclinic.org, “Diagnosis was created to help people with gender dysphoria gain access to needed health care and effective treatment. The term focuses on discomfort as a problem, rather than identity.
Matthew Martin of Farmington also spoke, saying administrators should ask themselves why there are so many teaching and education technician positions that cannot be filled. He offered no answer.
Dixfield-based school board bans gender book from Dirigo library