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CAPE ELIZABETH — After a nearly two-year process and a couple of false starts, the School Board has selected the superintendent of Regional School Unit 38 in Readfield to become Cape Elizabeth’s school chief.
Donna H. Wolfrom is in her sixth year as superintendent of the Maranacook Area Schools. On Friday, Dec. 15, she will be in Cape Elizabeth to meet with administrators, teachers, and students throughout the day.
She will be at Town Hall from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to talk with parents and other community members.
“I’m honored and overwhelmed to have been selected,” Wolfrom said Wednesday. “Cape Elizabeth has a reputation of having an excellent school system and community.”
Wolfrom said she hasn’t signed a contract yet, and expects to finish the school year in RSU 38 and start in Cape Elizabeth in time for the 2018-2019 session.
Born in New Jersey, Wolfrom, 66, moved to Maine in 1988. She now lives in Monmouth, and said she plans to find an apartment in or around Cape Elizabeth to stay during the work week.
Wolfrom previously was assistant superintendent in Bangor, where she was responsible for K-12 curriculum development, district-wide professional development, and writing and oversight of federal grant applications.
Before that she worked for 20 years in School Administrative District 55 (Sacopee Valley), first as a classroom teacher, then literacy specialist, and finally curriculum director.
Wolfrom graduated from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania with a degree in English and elementary education. She later received a master’s degree in literacy at the University of Southern Maine, and then a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Maine at Orono.
“The School Board feels strongly it has found the right fit for the position of superintendent,” outgoing board Chairwoman Elizabeth Scifres said. “Dr. Donna Wolfrom is not only warm and personable, but highly qualified with a rich professional background.”
A search committee of current and incoming School Board members, school administrators, a teacher from each school, parents, and community members, first screened applications then conducted two rounds of interviews with a pool of 10 applicants.
“Dr. Wolfrom was outstanding because she encompasses a combination of qualities that our stakeholders felt were important for our next superintendent,” Scifres said.
The board has been looking for a permanent superintendent since Meredith Nadeau, who was hired in 2011, announced her resignation in January 2016. She left that July for a job in New Hampshire.
Retired Mount Desert Island Superintendent Howard Colter has served as interim superintendent since then. The search to take his place has not been an easy one.
After Nadeau resigned, two candidates were selected to interview for the post, but both backed out in April 2016.
The board hoped to secure another finalist by last April, but instead suspended its search on March 28 because a suitable candidate could not be found.
Colter, who had expected to stay as interim superintendent until a new superintendent could start on July 1, 2017, agreed to remain for another year. A new search for his replacement began in October.
Wolfrom said Colter called her last year during the School Board’s search in 2016 to suggest she apply for the position, but she didn’t feel the time was right.
When she was invited again this fall, Wolfrom decided it was time to make the move.
“I’m really excited to get to know the community and learn what has been working so well for Cape Elizabeth schools,” she said. “I can’t wait to get into the schools and get a feel for the district.”
Scifres said it’s been a pleasure working with Colter.
“He has not been a traditional interim superintendent, in that he has done much more for Cape Elizabeth schools than just ‘keep the ship off the rocks,'” she said.
Donna H. Wolfrom, superintendent of schools in Regional School Unit 38, will become school chief in Cape Elizabeth next summer.