CAPE ELIZABETH — Meredith Nadeau of New Hampshire was unanimously selected Wednesday morning by the School Board to become superintendent of schools.
Nadeau will take over from interim Superintendent Ken Murphy, the former superintendent of Yarmouth schools, who has been working for the district since January. Murphy stepped in when Superintendent Alan Hawkins retired in December.
Murphy will remain on the job until July 20.
Nadeau, 41, is the assistant superintendent in the Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham, N.H. She works as the district’s director of instruction and oversees the special education program, humanities curriculum and professional development.
Oyster River schools, like Cape Elizabeth’s, are classified as high-performing. The district has four schools and nearly 2,100 students.
Nadeau said she is looking forward to the move to Cape Elizabeth and was attracted to the small, personal community.
“I’ve been fortunate to work in small communities where I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the students and their families,” she said. “Cape Elizabeth is a beautiful area with a great reputation for helping students succeed.”
Nadeau is married and has two children ages 3 and 5. She said she would like them to attend Cape Elizabeth schools and hopes to live in the community or as close as possible.
“I really appreciate that the (Cape Elizabeth) school district has a comprehensive plan for the students. It supports all pieces of education including music, sports, literature and the arts,” she said.
Nadeau has worked as a principal, assistant principal, and special education and language teacher.
Howard Colter, superintendent of the Oyster River school district, said while Cape has gained an exceptional educator, Nadeau will be missed.
“Her departure is without a doubt a real loss for us,” Colter said Wednesday. “She works well with the administration and is an advocate for the children … You do not find someone like her very often.”
The School Board announced her selection Wednesday in a special meeting.
Chairwoman Mary Townsend said Nadeau was one of 33 candidates for the job from 18 states, screened in two rounds of applicants. Ten semifinalists were selected before the field was narrowed to two finalists, she said.
“We are so happy to have Meredith join us,” Townsend said. “She is reflective of what the public has requested for a school leader and what is best for our schools.”
Board member David Hillman called Nadeau one of the most brilliant people he has ever met.
“She is articulate, convincing and highly knowledgeable,” he said. “She truly reflects the epitome of what we want in our community.”
Nadeau holds a bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, a master’s degree in education with a focus in special education from the University of Hew Hampshire, and is a doctoral candidate at Boston University.
According to Townsend, Nadeau has a three-year contract and will be paid $123,000 annually. Hawkins earned almost $112,500 per year.
Meredith Nadeau of New Hampshire was selected as the superintendent of schools. She and her family will move to the area this summer.