TOPSHAM — New administrators are walking the halls as School Administrative District 75 starts another school year.
Don Gray is one familiar face, though. He’s back as assistant principal of Mt. Ararat High School, having been out on active deployment last year; Mimi Sorg filled in during his absence.
Randa Rineer is the new principal of the Williams-Cone elementary school, replacing Steve Ciembroniewicz. Two other administrators were hired in June and started last month: Daniel Chuhta, who replaced Elaine Dow as assistant superintendent, and Todd Sampson, who took over Colin Roy’s athletic director job at Mt. Ararat High School.
The future of school libraries is one focus in the coming year, Superintendent Brad Smith said on Monday. After the resignation of a longtime librarian at the high school, “we started asking the question, ‘what is the role of a high school librarian? For that matter, any librarian in a school?’ And we felt like … with the advent of technology … probably the nature of what goes on in a library is drastically changed.”
World language is another focus. SAD 75 – which includes Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham – offers French, Spanish, German and Chinese starting in seventh grade. The Chinese teaching position has been funded through a grant, but with that money diminishing, the district is looking at having to assume a greater share of the costs to maintain that program.
“We need to determine how much world language we can and should be providing to kids,” Smith said.
The superintendent also said he sees a greater emphasis this school year on connections to the community, such as greater involvement of parents and community members into the schools in a volunteer capacity.
“We’ve set up a process so that we can recruit those folks, and make sure that we match people who have skills and abilities … and at the same time we need to ensure that those folks coming into the school are safe and appropriate for our students,” Smith said.