SAD 75 taps assistant superintendent for school chief

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TOPSHAM — Brad Smith, hired last October as assistant superintendent of School Administrative District 75, was unanimously approved by the School Board for the top district job May 12.

The Cape Elizabeth resident will replace Mike Wilhelm as superintendent of schools on July 1 and has agreed to a three-year contract with a $107,500 starting salary.

Wilhelm announced his retirement in January. He was hired as assistant superintendent in 1989 and became superintendent two years later.

He said last week that Smith has “done a great job as assistant superintendent. I think he has all the skills necessary to be a quality superintendent for the school district.”

Wilhelm said on Wednesday that the assistant superintendent position would be advertised.

School Board Chairman Roland Tufts praised Smith’s leadership and communication skills and said he is passionate about making sure SAD 75 delivers the best product for its students.

Prior to being hired in SAD 75, Smith was principal of the Narragansett Elementary School in Gorham for six years, and of the White Rock Elementary School during his last year and a half there. Smith also assisted the Gorham superintendent on special projects.

Smith, 58, previously spent 30 years in education in the state of Washington, first as a teacher and then as an administrator.

Smith’s wife, Lynn, is an educational technician in Gorham. They have three grown children.

“I came to this district because of the strong reputation that MSAD 75 has, including Dr. Wilhelm, so it was a great opportunity to come here,” Smith said last week. “And when he announced his retirement I felt that it was very important that we continue to do the work that’s underway. … There’s a specialness to this district; there’s a unique quality to this district that we need to maintain.”

He said he was honored by the trust the School Board has placed in him, “and I’m excited about the future, to continue to do our work and make sure that all students in our district are successful.”

Smith noted that multiple challenges lay ahead, including declining enrollment, reduced funding from the state and increased demands for high achievement.

“Absolutely we can overcome (those challenges),” he said. “It’s not going to be easy, but those of us in education need to believe that we can rise to the occasion. We always have, and we will.”

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

Sidebar Elements

Brad Smith of Cape Elizabeth, currently assistant superintendent of School Administrative District 75, will head the district starting this July.

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.