By Abigail W. Adams
Wiscasset Middle High School seventh- and eighth-graders surround Principal Cheri Towle (center) on the steps of the school Tuesday, Sept. 15. Towle was hired as superintendent of the Brewer School Department the previous evening. She will begin her new position on Oct. 26. (Abigail Adams photo)
Cheri Towle, current principal of Wiscasset Middle High School, accomplished a long-held career goal Monday, Sept. 14 when the Brewer School Committee voted unanimously to hire Towle as their next superintendent.
Towle will remain with the Wiscasset School Department until Oct. 23 as the department transitions to a new principal. She begins her new position as superintendent of the Brewer School Department Oct. 26.
“It’s going to be sad leaving. I love the kids here,” Towle said. “That’s the hardest piece of it.”
Towle has always wanted to be a superintendent, she said. When she saw the position available with the Brewer School Department, she decided to throw her hat into the ring, she said.
The mission and vision of the school department aligned with her own, which was a major factor in her decision to apply, Towle said. After a couple of weeks and a couple of interviews, the Brewer School Committee announced Towle would serve as their new superintendent at their Sept. 14 meeting.
“It really comes down to their mission and vision around providing multiple pathways for students to learn,” Towle said. The conversations Towle had with the Brewer School Department during the interview process focused on how to strive for excellence and academic rigor for all students, Towle said.
The Brewer School Department is very progressive in its programming, which is designed to make the learning process exciting for students and provide different pathways to meet students’ needs, Towle said.
“One of the questions they asked me was not how can we make Brewer one of the best school departments in the state, it was how can we make Brewer one of the best school departments in the nation,” Towle said. “That was really exciting.”
The step forward in Towle’s career is bittersweet as she prepares to say goodbye to the Wiscasset School Department. Towle has served as the principal for Wiscasset High School for a little over a year. She helped steer the department through its transition to a two-school district.
The former Wiscasset High School became the Wiscasset Middle High School and incorporated the district’s seventh and eighth grades at the start of the school year.
“I’ve made a lot of good connections with students and staff,” Towle said. Community engagement with the school and designing and implementing new and exciting courses for students, such as the drone course, were some of the highlights of her time in Wiscasset, Towle said. “Seeing those successes start was a victory,” Towle said, “but I know they will continue. When a new person takes the reins, the school will be in good hands.”
The Wiscasset School Department has already initiated the hiring process. An anticipated job opening was posted on http://servingschools.com on Sept. 9, and is now an official job opening, Superintendent Heather Wilmot said. The position will remain open until Sept. 23, or until a suitable candidate is identified, according to the job posting.
The hiring process will be “thorough, rigorous, and comprehensive,” Wilmot said. “We’re looking for someone who will be a good fit for where we’re heading in the future.”
Leadership skills, commitment to proficiency-based education, enabling students’ success in an evolving job market, and an understanding of the values of the community and the needs of staff and students are qualities the school committee will be looking for in its next principal, Wilmot said.
The Wiscasset School Committee will update the community on the hiring process at its next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24, Wilmot said.
Wilmot recently became superintendent of the Wiscasset School Department after working as assistant superintendent of the Lisbon School District. “This is very exciting for her,” Wilmot said. “I understand how exciting it is to make this transition. We wish her well in her new position.”