Former Great Salt Bay Community School Assistant Principal Ira Michaud will lead the Edgecomb Eddy School in 2017-2018. He began his new position as principal Monday, July 17.
Michaud hopes to facilitate the continuation of high-quality education at Edgecomb Eddy School and to foster “excitement about learning, teaching, and growing” among students and staff, he said.
Michaud leaves his post with GSB to serve as the first new principal at the Edgecomb Eddy School in a decade. He replaces Lisa Clarke, who recently accepted a position as principal of the Southport Central School.
An interview committee formed to find the school’s next principal unanimously voted to recommend Michaud for the position, AOS 98 Superintendent Eileen King said.
“The number one thing that came across in the interview was his complete and total commitment and dedication to students,” King said.
Michaud is excited about the new leadership opportunity and intends to bring “fun and creative energy” to the position, he said.
Michaud’s said he was encouraged to pursue a career as a school administrator since his earliest experiences as a classroom teacher.
He worked as a sixth-grade teacher in Benton and a fourth-grade teacher in Gardiner before joining GSB’s administrative team three years ago.
Even as a classroom teacher, Michaud had leadership roles on curriculum and professional development committees. Supervisors and co-workers encouraged him to pursue becoming a school administrator.
Michaud, who holds a master’s degree in education, followed their advice and completed administrator training through the University of Maine’s Education Leadership Program.
As an administrator, Michaud broadened his vision from the individual students in the classroom to every student and staff in the school.
“I had to shift my thinking to consider what is best for every child. How can we, as staff, challenge and support students and get them engaged with education?” he said.
GSB Principal Kim Schaff was “a fundamental mentor” in his development as a school administrator, Michaud said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor,” he said.
While at GSB, Michaud has been contacted by superintendents encouraging him to apply for positions in their school districts. Michaud, however, was selective about which job opportunities he chose to pursue.
He wanted to work close enough to his Damariscotta home to be available to his family. He also wanted the school he worked for to have “the right vision and direction,” he said, and the Eddy School does.
During the interview process, Michaud asked the committee of staff and school committee members what the atmosphere at the school was like. Longtime staff members told him it’s like a family.
The family atmosphere, Edgecomb Eddy School’s recognition as a high-achieving school from the Maine Department of Education, and the school’s understanding that learning should not be confined within the walls of a classroom solidified his decision to accept the position, Michaud said.
Michaud is an advocate of outdoor education and helped institute an outdoor learning program for seventh- and eighth-graders at GSB. One of the first things he learned about the Eddy School was that the playground had been extended into the woods.
Students have built an outdoor shelter and made it a central part of their playtime. “That’s huge, to see students engaged in creative play outside,” Michaud said.
Michaud is also enthusiastic about the new pre-kindergarten program the Edgecomb Eddy School will introduce this year. “It’s wonderful to be able to educate students that young and get them excited about learning,” he said.
The school’s after-school science program, interdisciplinary approach to electives, and growing technology curriculum are also strengths, Michaud said.
“Great work is already happening here,” he said. “I want to see it continue.”
“Respect, Responsibility, Reflection” is the motto of the Edgecomb Eddy School. “There’s a lot that you can provide to students when you center on these three things,” Michaud said.