Freeport-Pownal-Durham district hopes to have new school chief this month

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FREEPORT — A new superintendent of schools is expected to be announced May 25 by Regional School Unit 5.

The RSU 5 Board of Directors this week is interviewing candidates following the March 30 resignation of Ed McDonough. The school chief, who is in his first year with the district, is leaving for personal reasons.

Michelle Ritcheson, chairwoman of the board, said the board’s choice for the new school chief for the Freeport-Pownal-Durham district will be announced at a board meeting at the end of the month.

She said 19 people applied for the position; 17 were from Maine and 2 were from out of state. She declined to say how many candidates are being interviewed.

Beth Parker, vice chairwoman of the board, said many strong candidates applied.

“We had a really good pool to choose from,” she said.

Ritcheson agreed, saying the candidate pool is similar to last year’s.

The board searched independently and didn’t hire a consultant, and the deadline to apply for the position was April 28.

“We just wanted to get this done quickly,” Parker said.

The board hopes the new superintendent can start July 1, Parker said. McDonough, 60, will stay with the district through the end of the school year, but said he will help with the transition to his replacement.

McDonough was hired in February 2015 and started last August. He replaced co-interim Superintendents William Michaud and Michael LaFortune, who filled in after the RSU’s first superintendent, Shannon Welsh, retired in 2014.

Parker said because the board just went through a superintendent search process last year, it didn’t reach out to parents, teachers, and community members for guidance. Forums were held last year where people could talk about what they wanted in a superintendent and the board used that information again this year.

“It didn’t make sense to start all over again,” Parker said. “We had the input from last year and we doubted that it would have changed.”

Parker said candidates are expected to tour the district sometime this month, but a date hadn’t been set as of Tuesday.

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

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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.