The South Bristol School Committee unanimously approved the appointment of Charles “Chuck” Hamm as the new principal for South Bristol School on Tuesday, Aug. 3.
AOS 93 Superintendent Craig Jurgensen said the search committee interviewed five qualified candidates for the principal’s position. Hamm’s references were “glowing.”
“All the superlatives, I think, match what you were looking for,” Jurgensen told the school committee.
Hamm was previously superintendent and head of school for Islesboro Central School for three years. He hopes to finish his career at South Bristol School.
“I love the ocean, I love natural history and the outdoors, traveling. So all the things I’m finding out about this school, it seems like I should be here,” he said.
Hamm started out as an art teacher in the MSAD 34 school district in Belfast and is looking to get back to a more interactive role with students and faculty.
He will be at SBS almost every day for the rest of the summer and his first project is to paint his office.
Hamm will host open office hours for the remainder of the summer, where anyone can come in to see him on Tuesday afternoon from about noon to 3 p.m., and Thursday morning from about 8 a.m. to noon.
“I’m sure there are a lot of nerves around the transition with leadership. I’m happy to meet anyone who wants to pick my brain or maybe answer some of my questions, because I have a million questions about the place to get settled,” he said.
Hamm grew up mostly in Fall River, Mass., and first arrived in Maine to attend what was then known as the Portland School of Art, now the Maine College of Art. He received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in jewelry and silver-smithing from the school.
“I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with Portland,” he said.
Hamm said that it is unusual to see an art major as a school administrator, but he was always a “rabble rouser,” always challenging the administration to do better.
He landed a job as an art teacher at Belfast Area High School, where he worked for 26 years, taught around 3,000 students, became a department coordinator, and spearheaded the building of a fine arts wing at the school.
“That’s the biggest feather in my cap over there,” Hamm said.
His long experience as a teacher has helped him as an administrator. “I think that’s important nowadays, to just keep in mind what teachers are going through, especially during COVID,” he said.
Hamm transferred to the Belfast Community Outreach program in Education, or BCOPE, the area’s alternative education program, for three years.
He was being groomed to be the administrator at that program, but when a position did not open up, he looked into a position at Islesboro Central School, which he found to be a “true community school.”
“I can already see that this is the true community school,” Hamm said of SBS and why he thinks it will be a good fit for him.
He is excited to get more involved with the staff, children, and the greater school community in South Bristol.
Hamm lives in Searsmont with his wife, Jill Hamm, in a home he built himself. He and his wife have a 28-year-old daughter, Emma.