Freeport-Pownal-Durham board picks Portland educator as superintendent of schools

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FREEPORT — A Portland Public Schools administrator will be the next superintendent of schools in Regional School Unit 5.

Becky Foley, chief academics officer for the Portland schools, will take over July 1 as school chief in the Freeport-Pownal-Durham district. Her appointment was approved Wednesday, May 25, by the RSU 5 Board of Directors.

Current RSU 5 Superintendent Ed McDonough will be leaving the district June 30 after one year in the position. He announced his resignation in March, citing personal reasons.

Foley, a Texas native who has been living in Maine for 30 years, said she’s excited to lead RSU 5.

“Not only do they care about academic achievement, they also care about students being well-rounded,” Foley said. “There’s a place for all students here, and I’m drawn to that.”

Foley, a resident of Portland, said she was interested in working for RSU 5 because of its reputation and because of the board’s desire to continue improving the district.

“I feel like the board’s commitment to increasing student achievement is also a goal of mine,” she said. “I feel very passionate about being a strong educational leader.”

Foley said she cares about helping students reach their full potential.

“I’m so passionate about educating students and preparing them to go on to whatever they want to become,” she said. “It’s our job as educators to make sure all students are ready to make that choice.”

The RSU 5 board received 19 applications for the job and interviewed four candidates before narrowing the field to two finalists. The name of the other finalist was not released.

Because the board went through a superintendent search process last year, it didn’t reach out to parents, teachers and members of the community for guidance. Forums were held last year, when people talked about what they wanted in a superintendent, and that information was tapped again this year.

Board Chairwoman Michelle Ritcheson said in a press release that the decision to hire Foley was unanimous, and board members are looking forward to her tenure.

“Becky Foley is an outstanding educator and experienced administrator,” Ritcheson said. “We are confident that her leadership will move RSU 5 forward to even higher levels of achievement.”

Prior to working for the Portland schools, Foley was the assistant superintendent in School Administrative District 52 in Turner for four years. She also taught and served as principal and assistant principal in Turner. Foley was also principal of North Yarmouth Memorial School for 10 years.

She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine at Farmington, along with a master’s degree in education administration and a doctorate in public policy from the University of Southern Maine.

Foley said she loves working in education and will bring that passion to Freeport.

“Every day I strive to make sure all students leave school being college- or career-ready,” she said. “That’s why I wake up every day to go to work.”

Foley’s departure from Portland is not surprising, since the city just hired a new superintendent, Xavier Botana of Indiana, who will start work in July. Other top administrators leaving the city schools are Director of School Management Kim Brant and Chief Financial Officer Ellen Sanborn.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Becky Foley, chief academic officer for Portland Public Schools, will be the next superintendent of schools in Regional School Unit 5.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • Peter K. Bingham

    Becky was one of the more outstanding administrators that I observed during my two separate stints as a school board member in the Cumberland – North Yarmouth school district. I believe that the directors of RSU 5 have made a wise choice.