YARMOUTH — For the second time this year, the Yarmouth School Committee has named a new interim superintendent for the district.
William Michaud, 61, of Portland, was unanimously approved for the 11-month position Thursday during the committee’s regular meeting. He will begin the post on Aug. 5. At the same meeting, the board extended the contract of current interim superintendent Ronald Barker until Aug. 4.
Michaud, an attorney, has worked at his Portland law practice for the past four years, but comes from a background in education that spans three decades. For 19 years, Michaud served in administrative positions, including stints as a superintendent in School Administrative District 16, the former Bath Public School District and Scarborough Public Schools.
In 2006, Michaud left Scarborough to attend law school. Three years later, he began practicing. To accommodate the interim post in Yarmouth, Michaud plans to scale back his law practice for about a year.
Michaud said Wednesday he’ll inherit a well-performing school district.
“It’s a testament to the leaders who have gone before that the school district is in such wonderful shape.” he said.
Michaud will face two main challenges when he takes the reins in August. First, he has been asked to help the school system develop a strategic plan. Second, the district still needs a permanent superintendent.
“The biggest task will be to attract a superintendent who will be here for the long term,” he said. “Yarmouth has a history of long-serving superintendents – Frank Harrison and Ken Murphy served for a very, very long time.
“It’s good for a community when you can attract high-caliber people for the long term.”
The search for a permanent superintendent will begin anew in the fall, said Margaret Groban, chairwoman of the superintendent Search Committee.
The original search began in February, after former Superintendent Judy Paolucci resigned her four-year post Dec. 21, 2012, for an administrative position in Leicester, Mass.
Last spring, the committee received 22 applications and interviewed five candidates. But none met the committee’s standards, Groban said Friday, adding that it’s difficult to define the ideal candidate.
“We’ll know it when we see it,” she said. “We’re just looking for the perfect fit. We couldn’t find it in the first batch, but we think we have a great interim (superintendent) and we’ll go from there.”
Despite the lack of a permanent hire, Groban said the committee is not discouraged.
“Obviously, in a perfect world, we’d have somebody new starting in September, but we would rather have it take longer and get the right person for the job,” she said. “We certainly have a great school district to sell, so that shouldn’t be hard.”
In the meantime, Barker has served as interim superintendent since late January and will continue through early August.
“Ron Barker has been fabulous and we wish he would stay, but he’s made a commitment (elsewhere),” Groban said.
Barker, who most recently was executive director of the Maine State Superintendent’s Association and deputy executive director of the Maine School Management Association, was a teacher, coach and principal in Yarmouth schools for 17 years. He also served as superintendent of SAD 6 in Buxton for 10 years.
Barker is retired, but plans to work this fall in the University of Southern Maine’s admissions department, he said.