Cumberland-North Yarmouth school district hires Biddeford administrator as superintendent

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CUMBERLAND — In a seven-minute meeting Monday, the School Administrative District 51 Board of Directors unanimously approved hiring Jeff Porter of Scarborough as superintendent of schools.

Porter, assistant superintendent in the Biddeford School Department for the past seven years, will start a three-year contract in SAD 51 on July 1 at an annual salary of $125,000.

He replaces Robert Hasson, who left last November after 20 years as superintendent of the Cumberland-North Yarmouth schools to become deputy executive director of the Maine School Management Association. Sally Loughlin, the district director of curriculum, assessment, instruction and professional development since 2010, has served as interim superintendent.

Porter, 43, is married and has two children. He grew up in Yarmouth and attended Yarmouth public schools. Porter began his career as an elementary school teacher and later spent 11 years as an elementary school principal, most recently in Portland.

“The reputation of MSAD 51 is what led me here,” Porter said after Monday’s meeting at Greely High School, adding that the superintendent’s job is also the next logical step in his career.

“Education is all about learning, and that means all of us have to learn,” Porter said. “I see the superintendent as a chief learner. You can never stop learning, and we all need to keep growing and learning, and that’s the big focus for me.”

Doing that will also help the students learn effectively, he added.

SAD 51 reviewed 20 applicants for the job, according to School Board Chairwoman Karen Campbell. The New England School Development Council assisted with the search, and about 115 people took part in focus groups.

An 11-member screening committee of teachers, administrators, town officials, parents, board members and other community members screened the applications and determined a group of candidates for the full board to consider, according to a district press release.

Porter, who was the only finalist, visited the district Feb. 27 and met with staff and members of the board and community.

He came “highly recommended,” Campbell said, noting that Porter has “been identified as an educational leader, he’s been identified as a collaborator, as a good communicator. He meets all of the many and varied criteria that the board and the community developed for a superintendent.”

“He is exactly the kind of leader that the School Department should be trying to hire,” Biddeford Superintendent Jeremy Ray said in the SAD 51 release. “His support for teachers, leadership, the community and students has had a dramatic impact on the positive growth of (our) organization.”

Porter said he is not related to former School Board member Jeff Porter.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sidebar Elements

Jeff Porter of Scarborough, assistant superintendent in the Biddeford School Department, will become school chief in School Administrative District 51 on July 1.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.