CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Mike Pulsifer has been hired as the new superintendent and principal at Chebeague Island School.
Pulsifer, who started Aug. 1, is replacing Alton “Bump” Hadley, who retired on June 30 after eight years in the position. Pulsifer has signed a three-year contract.
Pulsifer, a resident of Cape Elizabeth, has worked in education for 38 years, most recently as interim superintendent for the Saco School Department. He said working as a superintendent, however, took him away from his favorite part of education.
“I have been working in the central office for the past six years and found I was getting farther and farther away from the kids,” he said. “I was dealing less and less with children and their education.”
Pulsifer said he was drawn to the position on Chebeague Island because it will allow him to work more closely with students.
“It is a great little school,” he said. “It’s like a family atmosphere here. It’s just unique.”
Pulsifer said the size of the school will be a benefit and will be the smallest district where he has ever worked. Chebeague Island School, which is pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, had 33 students enrolled last year.
He said he has worked in districts that are very large, but understands the way small schools work because growing up he attended a two-room school in Livermore Falls.
Pulsifer, who has also worked as a teacher and principal, said he hopes the knowledge he’s gained over the years will be useful on Chebeague Island.
“I’m bringing a lot of experience,” he said. “I’m hoping my experience will be helpful.”
The position of being both principal and superintendent is unique, though, and Pulsifer said he expects there to be a learning curve.
“I’m just getting my feet wet right now,” he said.
Pulsifer said he plans to “do the best I can working with the students and learning how to best help the teachers.”He said he also hopes to meet parents and islanders not directly involved with the school.
“My goal is just to learn the ropes, work with the children, and meet the community,” he said.
Like Hadley, Pulsifer will spend Tuesdays and Fridays at the school. He said he hopes he can learn and do all the things he hopes to do in his limited time on the island.
“The most challenging thing will probably be trying to do it all in two days,” he said.
The first day of school on Chebeague Island is Tuesday, Sept. 8.