2018-04-06 / Community

News Briefs

Alumni musicians sought for KHS concert

A gala concert is planned for June to celebrate the new performing arts space at Kennebunk High School. The concert will also serve to recognize the many decades of faithful service logged by the old Alexander Economos Auditorium, which is undergoing a retrofit as part of ongoing building renovations and will become a lecture hall.

“We’re trying to do something big and splashy to honor all of the past people who have graced the stage of the old Economos Theater and to give them a chance to play in a venue that is worthy of what they were playing before,” said KHS band teacher Benjamin Potvin, on Monday.

The two-hour June 23 concert is slated to feature friends and alumni of the high school music department in both the band and the chorus, from the present day going back — based on who has signed on already — to the 1960s, at least.

The new stage will hold 189 performers at one time, and Potvin said he is hoping to find at least that many alumni and music boosters to join the fold, in order to really raise the rafters during the special event, as a slideshow of former students playing in the old Economos space plays in the background.

Anyone interested in taking part in the event is asked to fill out an application on the music department website, www.musicatkhs.com.

Potvin said he plans to send out sheet music by the end of April, so that those selected to take part can begin practicing on their own. The full ensemble will come together for a couple days of practice before the event, Potvin said.

“They’ll have a couple of months to dust off the old trombone, or to practice singing in their car, as the case may be,” Potvin said, noting that instruments can be made available for those who no longer have something on which to play. Participants will get to choose their comfort level, signing up for first, second or third chair, so there’s no reason to shy away if skills are a little rusty, Potvin said.

Participating singers and musicians do not necessarily have to be a KHS alumni, so long as they have some connection to the music program, such as being the parent of a current or former band member, Potvin said. More importantly, there is no requirement to still live in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport or Arundel.

“We are really hoping to get people from away, who have gone on to all different walks of life since their time here,” Potvin said.

Money raised from the concert will go toward getting the high school band to New York City in 2020 for its quadrennial Big Apple sightseeing tour and performance.

Last day of school planned for June 22

Given the number of snow days piled up over the winter season, the last day of school in RSU 21 will be later than usual this year. But thanks to an April 2 school board vote, it won’t be as late as it might have been. At least for students.

Without board intervention, the last day of school was set to fall as a half-day of classes on Monday, June 25.

“We could go with that, but that’s not the preferred choice of families and most teachers,” Superintendent Katie Hawes said.

The union contract in RSU 21 calls on teachers to work 183 days during the year, with pay divided into 26 paychecks. Messing too much with teacher schedules could be problematic, Hawes said. However, there are 178 student days in the RSU calendar, while the state calls for a minimum of 175.

With that in mind, the school board agreed unanimously to Hawes’ call to set the last day of classes as a half day on Friday, June 22. Teachers will return for a final day on June 25.

Many of the teachers, Hawes said, will spend that day accommodating the shuffling of classrooms required to add preschool to Kennebunk Elementary School next fall and to move grade 3 from KES to Sea Road Elementary, changes which will cascade to additional room swaps at both schools, she said.

RSU 21 announces new school staff members

At its April 2 meeting, the RSU 21 Board of Directors unanimously endorsed the selection of Marty Bouchard to replace Jeff Rodman, who is retiring at the end of the school year as principal at the Middle School of the Kennebunks.

Bouchard has spent the past 14 years as principal at Houlton Middle/High School, which serves students in grades 6 through 12. Prior to that, he was an assistant principal and athletic administrator. He also is a the current president of the Maine Principals’ Association. An Aroostook County native who graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Bouchard holds a 2004 masters degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Southern Maine.

He will be paid a base salary of $111,000 to head up the middle school. That, Superintendent Katie Hawes said, is “what Principal Rodman would have made next year.” There were 13 applicants for the job, Hawes said, with five meriting interviews. Although two prospects in addition to Bouchard toured the school, meeting with students and staffers, Hawes declined to name the other finalists for the press.

Also at its April 2 meeting, the school board approved the hiring of Jason Sullivan as a physical education teacher at Kennebunk High School, where he will replace longtime teacher Joe Rafferty, who is retiring after 39 years.

Sullivan has served the past four years as assistant principal at the high school. Prior to that he worked six years as a physical education teacher and three as assistant principal at Noble High School in North Berwick. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from USM and is working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

Sullivan will start at Step 24 on the sliding scale for teacher salaries in RSU 21, earning $66,990. However, as with all current salaries, that is subject to an adjustment, likely upward, as part of ongoing negotiations for a new three-year union contract.

Meanwhile, the school district has filled four of the seven openings for the new preschool program set to launch next year at Kennebunk Elementary School. Those new hires include:

• Andrea Compton, who holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Plymouth State University. She has worked three years as a pre-K teacher at St. Patrick School in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and five as a pre-K teacher at Cocoons Day School in Kennebunk. For the past three years she has been the Title I Reading Teacher at KES. Compton will start at Step 2 on the teacher’s scale, earning $40,448.

 Haley Dill, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, childhood development and family relations from the University of Maine. She worked three years as a pre-K teacher at a Montessori school in Windham and one as a pre-K ed tech in the Biddeford School Department. Dill will start at the beginning Step 0 of the teacher’s scale, earning RSU 21’s starting salary of $36,771.

 Jennifer French, who earned a bachelor’s degree in in elementary education at Westfield State College. She has served 27 years already in RSU 21, seven as a Grade 1 teacher and 20 years heading up kindergarten classrooms. French will land at Step 28 of the teacher’s scale, giving her a salary of $70,239.

 Michelle Bishop, who holds a bachelor’s degree in child development and family relations from the University of Maine and is “on schedule,” Hawes said, to add a masters in literacy education from USM this spring. Bishop has worked for the past three years as an ed tech II in RSU 21, having previously logged 27 years as a teaching assistant, teacher training instructor and team teacher in other locations. She will start at Step 2, with a salary of $44,125.

According to Hawes, one additional pre-K teacher will be presented for approval at the April 30 school board meeting. The district will open a new round of advertising in hopes of filling the final two pre-K teaching jobs, Hawes said.

Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington. He can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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