Edgecomb Eddy School Principal Ira Michaud will leave at the end of the school year for a new position as principal of Nobleboro Central School.
Michaud was hired Monday, April 12.
After 13 years as a teacher at schools in Gardiner and Benton, Michaud started his administrative career as an assistant principal at Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta in 2014. GSB is part of AOS 93 and Michaud said he came to love the school system.
Michaud said he fell in love with smaller elementary schools when he started at Edgecomb Eddy School in 2017. He saw the opening at NCS as an opportunity to go back to AOS 93 while continuing to work at a smaller school. Being on the same school calendar as his kids, who attend GSB and South Bristol School, both in AOS 93, is an added benefit.
Michaud said he is familiar with NCS by reputation and knows the school has always had strong community support. “I like that feeling of everybody knowing every kid,” he said.
Michaud does not plan to make major changes at the school. He wants to see the staff “continue with the great work they do” and support them in it.
“I’ve done a lot that I’m proud of here,” Michaud said of his time at Edgecomb Eddy School, citing higher enrollment as one accomplishment.
In his first year as principal, he piloted a prekindergarten program. Later, he focused on agreements with Alna and Westport Island, encouraging parents from those towns to send their kids to Edgecomb Eddy to increase enrollment. According to Michaud, one of five students at Edgecomb Eddy is a tuition student.
Michaud is proud of the parent-teacher club at Edgecomb Eddy School and how the community worked together to improve the play yard and outdoor space at the school.
“I’ve never met a more generous and welcoming community than I’ve seen here in Lincoln County,” Michaud said. “They love kids and schools and are committed to education.”
“Education furnishes opportunity for every realm of life,” Michaud said. “Through school learning, students broaden their experiences and develop curiosity, learn to be clear communicators in spoken and written word, expand their capacity to problem solve, and mature in their abilities to demonstrate compassion for the people and the world surrounding them.
“All of these skills are essential for preparing students to be ready for college and their career, to be ready for responsible citizenship which improves the world around us. In short, education is the key ingredient to living a full life and making the world a better place.”
“It’s an absolute joy of a job,” Michaud said of teaching.
Michaud grew up in Windsor. His mother worked in a meat factory before becoming an ed tech at Windsor Elementary School. His father was a clerk typist for the state. Michaud described his childhood as “impoverished” but said his parents always encouraged him. “I am very thankful to my mom and dad for how they raised me,” he said.
Michaud received his bachelor’s degree in education with a focus on literacy from the University of Maine at Farmington. He received his master’s in literacy education from the University of Maine at Orono. He also completed administrator training through the University of Maine’s Education Leadership Program.
According to AOS 93 Superintendent Craig Jurgensen, the position was advertised Feb. 22, applications were accepted until March 8, and interviews began March 16. Twelve applications were submitted and five candidates were interviewed. Jurgensen said that Michaud “rose to the top very quickly.”
Michaud “was unanimously supported by the Nobleboro search committee,” Jurgensen said. “He is a good match for NCS and will, I know, assume the school leadership role professionally and enthusiastically.”
Former NCS Principal Ann Hassett, now director of curriculum, assessment, and instruction for AOS 93, chaired the search committee, which also included staff and parents. The committee engaged in a “rigorous, relevant search,” Jurgensen said.
Jurgensen said the committee knew of Michaud from his time at GSB, but did not let him rest on his laurels.
Michaud described the interview questions as hard, “but those are my favorite. They make me think about what I care about and what I’m committed to.”
Jurgensen said Michaud was the only candidate the search committee brought forward. “Ira just connected with them,” he said. “It’s a philosophic match.”
Nobleboro School Committee Chair Angela White, who served on the search committee, said Michaud seems like a very good fit for NCS. “He was very interested in small school dynamics, and that’s what we are,” she said.
White said Nobleboro is a tight-knit community and the school is a special place. “I think he’ll fit in very well,” she said.
NCS has not had a permanent principal since Dec. 11, 2020, when Principal Martin Mackey resigned, citing personal reasons. Long-term substitute teacher Sharon Sperry has served as interim principal since then and will continue in that role through the end of the school year.
Michaud will start his two-year contract as principal July 1.