Back to school: New elementary principals in Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH — New Principals Ryan Gleason and Susan Lobel will welcome students back to school Sept. 5 at Yarmouth Elementary School and William H. Rowe School, respectively.

Superintendent Andrew Dolloff said searches to fill each position began early last spring. Committees of 10 to 12 teachers, parents, community members, and administrators were formed to review applications and hold interviews with potential candidates. 

According to administrative assistant Laurie Brigham, Gleason’s position is salaried at more than $101,000 a year and Lobel’s at almost $55,000, not including benefits. 

“We were fortunate to have several highly qualified candidates for each position.  (Gleason and Lobel) really rose to the top during the interview process and, although the competition was stiff, they each became the unanimous choice of the respective interview committees by the end of the second round,” Dolloff said. 

On March 23, the Yarmouth School Committee announced the hiring of Gleason, 47, as principal of Yarmouth Elementary School, which includes second through fourth-graders. Gleason began work for YES on July 1, filling the position held by Betsy Lane, who retired June 30 after being principal of YES for nine years. 

Gleason was born in Nobleboro and graduated from the University of Maine with an undergraduate degree in education. He then went on to receive his master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish. 

His career in education began in 1992 at St. Dominic’s Academy in Lewiston, where he spent 15 years as a teacher and administrator. He was assistant principal at Durham Community School until joining the Falmouth school system in 2014 as assistant principal of grades 3 through 5. 

“(Gleason) has worked across the entire K-12 spectrum and has been highly regarded throughout his career as a teacher and an administrator,” Dolloff said. “That breadth of experience will serve him well as we work to improve our school-to-school connections.”

After 26 years of teaching and administrating, Gleason said he feels YES is right where he is meant to be. 

“This is a dream job for me,” he said. “(Second through fourth grade) is so exciting because kids are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn … the world starts to open up to them at this age.”

Gleason has lived in town for 17 years and feels lucky to have sent both his son and daughter through the Yarmouth school system. 

“This is an opportunity to work in a community that I’ve lived in and really have grown to love,” he said. “I have the chance to give back to the community that has been so good to my family and my kids.” 

A month after hiring Gleason, the school committee on April 13 announced the hiring of Lobel, 55, to lead the school of kindergartners and first-graders at Rowe. Lobel has replaced Ellen Honan who, after 37 years of serving Yarmouth schools, retired on June 30. 

Prior to beginning work in Yarmouth on July 1, Lobel was principal of Hall-Dale Elementary School in Hallowell, where she served since 2014. 

Born and raised in Mechanic Falls, Lobel has about 30 years of teaching experience in Maine. After graduating with a degree in education from the University of Maine Farmington, she received her master’s degree in Literacy Education from the University of Southern Maine. Since then, she has taught as an elementary teacher and literacy specialist in various communities across the state. 

Lobel will also serve as the school’s Literacy Lead Teacher, meeting with kindergarten and first-grade teachers regularly to provide a systematic school-wide approach to literacy instruction.

“(Lobel) has a tremendous amount of experience at the elementary level and, specifically, in the area of literacy instruction,” Dolloff said. “She will continue the good work that has been done at Rowe, perpetually looking for ways to improve our students’ experiences in reading and writing, as well as math and science.” 

“I felt this position was a great fit for me because it enables me to do some of that instruction literary work,” Lobel added. “It’s more than just administrative work.”

Not only is Lobel excited about the nature of her new position, but she looks forward to working with Yarmouth’s youngest learners. 

“I love the excitement and enthusiasm that (kindergartners and first-graders) bring to learning,” she said. “It all starts here at Rowe.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.