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TOPSHAM — After a year without a permanent superintendent, School Administrative District 75 will finally have a new one beginning July 1.
The SAD 75 Board of Directors on Thursday unanimously chose Shawn Chabot, assistant superintendent for Lewiston Public Schools since 2017, for the role of school chief.
Following the retirement of former SAD 75 Superintendent Brad Smith in June 2018, the board tapped Assistant Superintendent Dan Chuhta to serve as interim superintendent, allowing the panel more time in its search for a permanent replacement.
Chuhta left in February to become the state’s deputy commissioner of education; former Regional School Unit 68 Superintendent Bob Lucy stepped in to fill the interim position.
Chabot, 48, lives in Lewiston with his wife and has three children; their house will soon be going up for sale. Growing up in Dexter, Chabot joined the Maine Army National Guard in 1988 to pay his way through college. He stayed in the guard until 1994 and has been serving again since 2006. He is now a first sergeant with the guard’s medical detachment.
Chabot was a social studies teacher from 1994-1999 at Leavitt Area High School in Turner, where he was an assistant football coach and coached basketball and softball as well. After a year as assistant principal and athletic director at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, Chabot spent 2000-2002 as assistant principal at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls.
He has since then worked in Lewiston, first as principal of the Holy Cross School (2002-2005), then assistant principal at McMahon Elementary School (2005-2011), principal of Lewiston Middle School (2011-2015), and principal of Lewiston High School (2015-2017), before assuming the assistant superintendent role.
“I’ve always thought highly of the Topsham-Brunswick area,” he said Thursday night. “I was ready for a change, professionally … and when I saw this opportunity, I thought it would be a good match for me.”
Whether it’s at the school or district level, as a leader “I feel like my job is to take care of the roadblocks so that building principals and teachers can focus on one thing, and that’s teaching and learning,” Chabot explained. “And let us deal with all those other things that sometimes get in the way.”
He has always adhered to the notion that if he can take care of his staff, they can take care of their students.
“That’s our No. 1 job,” Chabot said.
He is excited to come on board at a time when the new Mt. Ararat High School is being built, with completion due next year. Chabot called himself a mix of “excited and nervous” to be tapped for the role of school chief.
As it is his first superintendent position it is a big responsibility, for which Chabot said he is honored to be chosen.
Recalling his roots, and how he had to join the military right out of high school to get through college, Chabot added, “to come up through, and be fortunate enough to be in this position now, is pretty humbling as well.”
A round of applause followed the School Board’s approval Thursday of Chabot’s two-year contract. His salary will be $127,000.
“Shawn has an impressive background, having served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and in his current role as the assistant superintendent of the Lewiston School Department,” Chairman Tyler Washburn read from a prepared statement. We are excited to begin our work with Shawn on behalf of the children, families, teachers and staff of our district.”
Sixteen people applied for the superintendent job, of which the search committee interviewed five, and the full School Board interviewed two, according to Washburn.
Shawn Chabot of Lewiston will start as School Administrative District 75’s new superintendent July 1.