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Cape Elizabeth school chief announces retirement; Hawkins to be a consultant through April 2011

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Cape Elizabeth school chief announces retirement; Hawkins to be a consultant through April 2011

CAPE ELIZABETH Superintendent of Schools Alan Hawkins announced his retirement on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Hawkins, 63, told the School Board he will retire effective Dec. 31, but will remain as a consultant through April 15, 2011, to assist in the transition to a new superintendent and to continue to work on curriculum, instruction and assessment. 

"My career has been one of great joy, constant reflection, continuing research into the best teaching practices of the time, and my own infernal drive to so what is best for the students," Hawkins said, reading a prepared statement Tuesday night at the high school. "Though the decision is a difficult one for me, the time has come to retire from my current role as a superintendent. It is done with great pride and humility at the opportunity of working collaboratively with so many in our community."

He declined to elaborate when asked for further comment.

Hawkins was named school chief in 2005. He previously was superintendent in Wiscasset, and was a teacher and principal for 30 years in South Portland, where he lives.

The board voted 6-0 to accept his retirement and his offer to consult.

Vice Chairwoman Kathy Ray said she accepted Hawkins' decision was great sadness and reluctance.

"Alan has served the Cape schools for five years with dedication and professionalism that is unparalleled in my seven years on the School Board," Ray said. "Alan always puts students first."

She said his accomplishments included implementation of a coordinated kindergarten-through-12th-grade curriculum, creation of job descriptions and his ability to collaborate in contract negotiations. Ray said Hawkins created a comprehensive energy preparedness plan, a gifted and talented program, a comprehensive guidance plan, hired a new food service director and facilities manager, and helped to improve the special education program.

"I believe Alan's retirement is a huge loss for the Cape Elizabeth school system, and I am very sorry to see him go," she said.

Board member Linda Winker also prepared a statement, and with tears said Hawkins showed patience, understanding, dedication and integrity throughout his five years as Cape's superintendent.

"You have been an advocate for the mission and vision of the Cape school system," she said. "It is with mixed emotions I accept your retirement."

Board members Kate Williams-Hewitt and Jon Christie, who have only worked with Hawkins for a year, both expressed their gratitude for his passion for the students and the curriculum.

"You have been open and available to answer my questions ... and have put me at ease with my four children in the schools," Williams-Hewitt said.

Chairwoman Rebecca Millett said she is looking forward to what the future will bring for Hawkins, and said the board will more officially and adequately mark his departure at a later date.

"I was there at the beginning, and you came forward with your passion for the kids," she said. "I am excited to hear what you will continue to do in education for the state of Maine."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net