Back to school: Longtime RSU 1 chairman takes on food service

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BATH — Regional School Unit 1 goes back to school this year without its longtime board chairman, who stepped down to become the district’s director of food service and nutrition.

Tim Harkins – whose last board meeting was last month – spent 12 years as a board member from Arrowsic. Starting with School Union 47 before it joined with Bath in 2008 to form RSU 1, Harkins has been chairman for most of his time on the board.

He started his new job Aug. 1, replacing Ellen Beal, who retired. 

Harkins has moved on from his Rocky Coast Lobster wholesale business in order to take the new position. He was up for re-election this November, and the Arrowsic Board of Selectmen appointed Anita Brown to fill the remainder of his term.

“I was interested in making a personal change, sort of a lifestyle change,” Harkins said in an interview Aug. 17, calling his lobster business “fairly all-consuming.”

Noting his familiarity with the district schools and staff, he said, “It’s just an opportunity to work with some good people, and affect kids. I always enjoyed the work that I did on the School Board, and this allows me to continue to work in the district.”

Among the changes Harkins saw while he served on the board were consolidation, a new funding formula, and a potential new Morse High School on the horizon.

The proposal for a new school will go to a district-wide referendum in November.

In the meantime, the concept design for the school could go to RSU 1 residents in a straw poll Sept. 11 or 12, followed by presentation of the proposal to the state Board of Education on Sept. 13. In an April straw poll, approximately 100 RSU 1 residents unanimously supported building a new Morse High School at the Wing Farm business park.

More information is available at sites.google.com/a/rsu1.org/morse-building-project.

RSU 1 has also hired about 30 new staff members, Superintendent Patrick Manuel said in an interview Aug. 17. New administrators include Eric Varney, a science teacher who replaces recently retired Jay Lamont as assistant principal at Morse.

Nate Priest, who formerly worked for a York County YMCA and coached track and field at Gray-New Gloucester High School, replaces Scott Walker as athletic director and dean of students at Morse. Walker is now the athletic director in Priests’ old district.

Katie Joseph came from Regional School Unit 11 in Gardiner to become assistant superintendent. She replaces Judy Harvey, who become superintendent in Northport.

Classes for Kindergarten through ninth grade start Wednesday, Aug. 30, followed by grades 10-12 the following day.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Tim Harkins, longtime chairman of the Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors, has stepped down to become the district’s director of food service and nutrition.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.