A 'return to roots' for new Yarmouth school chief

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YARMOUTH — After a year and a half of interim superintendents, the School District has hired someone to permanently take on the position.

Andrew Dolloff started in Yarmouth on July 1 after being the superintendent of Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk for five years. Prior to that he worked in Scarborough for 13 years as an administrator and principal. He began his 28-year career in public education as a chemistry teacher.

Dolloff said he was drawn to Yarmouth in part because of the community.

“Yarmouth is a very attractive community. There’s a real appreciation for the schools,” Dolloff said. “It’s exciting to be part of a community that has that focus.”

Dolloff has ties to the community and said many of his relatives are from the town. He said his grandfather graduated from Yarmouth High School in 1925.

“It’s really a return to my roots,” he said.

Dolloff is the first permanent superintendent since Judy Paollucci left halfway through the 2012-2013 school year. She had the position for 3 1/2 years. The district hired Ron Barker as an interim for the second half of that year.

Last year, William Michaud was the interim superintendent, but he has now accepted a position as interim co-superintendent in Freeport.

Dolloff said he also liked Yarmouth because of it’s size. He said the large size of his previous district kept him from developing relationships with as many teachers and students as he would have liked. He said his goal is to get to know more people in Yarmouth.

“One thing I’m challenging myself to do more here is to come to know the students better,” Dolloff said. “I think that’s important for unity in the district.”

Dolloff said it is important for administrators, staff, and teachers to develop meaningful relationships with students. He said it helps kids to feel connected and lets them know their needs and hopes are being considered. Dolloff said this can lead children to be more successful in school.

Dolloff said two of the major challenges he and the district will work on this year will be responding to recent changes made by the state Legislature.

One new law forces school districts to develop systems for evaluating teachers and administrators.

Another requires proficiency-based education, meaning graduation requirements will no longer be based on grades and credits. Instead, students will have to meet certain standards before graduating.

Dolloff won’t be the only new face in the district this year, but is the only new administrator. He said there will be half a dozen new classroom teachers and as many new teacher’s aides. A new food service director was also hired.

Dolloff said he respects the work of the former superintendents and that he has met all five, interims included. He said he looks forward to continuing their work and that he hopes to involve the community when doing so.

“I don’t necessarily craft a personal vision for a district,” he said, “but work with it to craft a community vision.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Sidebar Elements

Andrew Dolloff is the fourth superintendent of schools in Yarmouth’s history. He has almost three decades of experience in education.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.