Brunswick hires Lewiston educator as elementary school principal

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BRUNSWICK — A Lewiston school official will become principal of Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School on July 1.

The School Board voted 6-0 Tuesday evening to authorize a two-year contract with Heather Blanchard.

School Board members Ben Tucker, Jim Grant and Bill Thompson were absent from Tuesday’s closed-door interview and public vote.

Blanchard, 36, is a former elementary school teacher and assistant principal in three Lewiston schools, who now serves as the city’s director of instructional support.

“Ecstatic doesn’t cover how I feel,” she told the Brunswick board.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Perzanoski on Wednesday said terms of Blanchard’s contract have not been finalized.

Harriet Beecher Stowe has not had a permanent principal since Jean Skorapa left last summer to become assistant superintendent in Regional School Unit 3 in Unity.

A search committee was formed to find Skorapa’s replacement, but after narrowing the pool to two candidates, the panel declined to nominate a finalist.

Blanchard will take over from Cathy Folan, whom Perzanoski appointed interim principal in late December.

Semi-retired Curriculum Director John Paige headed the school between Skorapa’s departure and Folan’s interim appointment.

The search committee of staff, teachers and parents renewed its efforts in January.

In early March, they nominated Blanchard and Anita Hopkins, an assistant principal in School Administrative District 54 (Skowhegan) as finalists.

In making their final selection, the committee drew on parent and teacher input from a public forum two weeks ago, where Blanchard said she fielded questions about her leadership style.

“I am a fan of building teams and putting processes together,” she said Tuesday, and will call on staff and faculty for guidance.

Blanchard said her perspective as an educator spans a wide range – from the four walls of a classroom, to the “5,000-foot view” at the district level, where she said “I wear a lot of hats” while coordinating federal and curriculum-related programs.

“(But) I quickly realized I missed being around students and teachers,” she said, which led her to apply for the job at Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Brunswick is a smaller, different kind of community than Lewiston, Blanchard pointed out. She said she is looking forward to closer connections between the school, parents, teachers, and students.

While she will officially start work July 1, Blanchard said she hopes to visit the school a few times in the next three months to introduce herself.

Callie Ferguson can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 100, or Follow Callie on Twitter:@calliecferguson.


Reporting on municipal, school, and community news in Brunswick and Harpswell. Bowdoin graduate, Wild Oats sandwich-eater. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100, or