2015-01-23 / Front Page

Hawes tapped to lead RSU 21

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

Kathryn Hawes Kathryn Hawes KENNEBUNK — At the most recent meeting of the RSU 21 Board of Directors, Chairman Maureen King said a candidate for the district’s top job would be presented at the group’s Jan. 26 meeting. As it turns out, that person was seated at the time just two chairs away from King’s spot at the center of the meeting table.

On Tuesday, King announced Assistant Superintendent Kathryn “Katie” Hawes had been selected as the “sole finalist” for the open superintendent position.

“The board unanimously chose Ms. Hawes as the finalist for the RSU 21 superintendency after a careful and thoughtful review,” wrote King, in a press release, although she did not say when that vote took place.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as finalist for the role of Superintendent in RSU 21 and truly appreciate the support and confidence of the School Board,” wrote Hawes in an email sent in response to a request for comment Tuesday.

“In the short time that I have been with the district, the parent and community support, strong administrative team, and professional, dedicated teachers have thoroughly impressed me,” Hawes wrote. “As the parent of a kindergartener at Kennebunk Elementary School, I look forward to a long, successful, tenure with RSU 21.”

Hawes will replace interim Superintendent Dr. Kevin Crowley, who will return to his post as principal of Mildred L. Day School in Arundel with the start of the new fiscal year, July 1. Crowley stepped up in May 2014 following the resignation of Superintendent Andrew Dollof on Jan. 30, 2014.

Dollof resigned less than a week after voters rejected a $75 million school construction bond, saying he had accepted a near-$5,000 raise to lead the Yarmouth School Department.

While there was a certain level of urgency in finding a new superintendent, there seemed to be little public interest. The school board held three public forums to solicit feedback about what characteristics parents, students and taxpayers wanted in Dollof’s replacement. Those sessions were, to say the least, sparsely attended.

“Remind me never to do that again,” joked King, at the Jan. 5 school board meeting. “I had really lovely discussions with one of our board members, three principals and two members of the public. And that was the entire three forums.”

King did say, however, that the board recieved 180 replies to an online questionnaire.

According to King, the district received 21 applications from across the United States and abroad, all of which were sent in response to a vacancy posting to the website SchoolSpring.com.

“The Board is confident that she [Hawes] is the most knowledgeable and best-suited candidate for the position, and looks forward to continuing their work with her,” wrote King. “Since joining RSU 21, she has formed strong relations with parents, teachers, and administrators, advanced the work of the district in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and facilitated the revision of the district’s teacher professional growth and evaluation system.

Hawes, who holds a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership and a master’s degree in education, is currently a Ph.D. candidate, with a focus on public policy and educational leadership, at the University of Southern Maine. She is expected to complete the doctorate program in May.

In a career spanning 19 years, Hawes has worked in public and private schools in Maine as a teacher, consultant, and administrator. Prior to joining RSU 21, she spent nine years in the Gorham School Department as a director of instructional support and as assistant superintendent.

She serves on several national, regional, and state leadership boards including Regional Education Laboratory Northeast, the Islands Data Working Group on Proficiency-Based Education, the University of Southern Maine Educational Leadership Advisory Board, and the Saco Bay Educational Collaborative Curriculum Leaders Group.

Hawes has been RSU 21’s assistant superintendent since May, when she was hired away from Gorham to replace Sara Zito, who retired in February 2014.

Hawes will continue in her current role until assuming the top post on July 1. The school board is scheduled to officially offer Hawes the superintendent’s job and approve a three-year contract through June 30, 2018, at Monday its Jan. 26 meeting.

A salary offer for Hawes was not available as of the Post’s Tuesday morning deadline.

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