2017-07-28 / Community News

Nadeau is the choice for SMS principal

Educator has worked in Bonny Eagle, Old Orchard Beach school systems
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Diane Nadeau, a former administrator in Buxton and Old Orchard Beach, has been chosen to replace Barbara Hathorn as principal at Scarborough Middle School. (Michael Kelley photo) Diane Nadeau, a former administrator in Buxton and Old Orchard Beach, has been chosen to replace Barbara Hathorn as principal at Scarborough Middle School. (Michael Kelley photo) There will be a new face at the helm of Scarborough Middle School, one that is eager to begins helping middle school students grow academically and socially.

On July 1, Diane Nadeau, most recently the principal at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Buxton, was hired to replace Barbara Hathorn as Scarborough Middle School principal. Hathorn, who has spent the last eight years as middle school principal, stepped down from the post at the end of the school year to become Pleasant Hill Primary School Principal and K-2 Improvement Specialist.

Nadeau, a resident of Saco, spent the past 11 years as principal at three schools in the Bonny Eagle school district: Hollis Elementary School, Buxton Center Elementary School and Bonny Eagle Middle School. She started her career as an upper elementary school teacher at Loranger Middle School in Old Orchard Beach before working as a literary specialist and assistant principal in the district.

“Part of the challenge of middle school is it is the time in a student’s life where they are trying to figure out who they are as a person. There is a lot of learning that goes on in terms of finding what their strengths are, how to identify how they fit in with people,” Nadeau said. “That is the draw for me to middle school. I feel we have a possibility to be in a position to be a positive influence in that.”

It is important, she said, for middle school students to realize there will be bumps along the way and mistakes are going to happen, but “that’s OK, that’s how learning happens.”

Nadeau said it is clear her middle school staff shares in that outlook.

“That philosophy is coming up very clearly in the people I am meeting. There is a very strong student-centric focus here,” Nadeau said.

Assistant Superintendent Jo Anne Sizemore, who was on the interview committee, said Nadeau was a “top candidate” out of the field of 23 applicants.

“She had a solid education and administrative experience at the elementary and middle school level,” Sizemore said.

Superintendent Julie Kukenberger is glad to have Nadeau aboard as principal and a member of her leadership council.

“We are so excited to welcome Diane,” Kukenberger wrote in an email to the Leader. “She brings many skills and expertise to our current agenda and the immediate work at hand. From the moment that I met Diane, I knew she would be a great asset to our team. We are fortunate to welcome her to our team.”

Nadeau, who is still getting acclimated to her new school, is looking forward to being a hands-on leader at the middle school.

“My intention is to be highly visible, out there and available,” she said.

Aside from getting familiar with the school, its staff and soon, its students, Nadeau is working to implement a proficiency-based diploma education approach. By the time this year’s freshman class graduates in 2020, student will have to, per state law, show they are proficient in English, social studies, science/ technology and mathematics in order to earn a diploma.

Each subsequent class will need to show proficiency in one additional content area until 2025 when that class will need to be proficient in those areas, plus world language, physical education, career and education development and visual/ performing arts.

Nadeau is no stranger to the shift. Bonny Eagle Middle School was implementing proficiency-based education while she was at the school.

“I find it exciting to be able to help the staff, students and parents go through that transition,” she said.

Nadeau said the school is also implementing two new programs in place of the tradition homeroom period. The first, Crew, is an advisory program in which up to a dozen students are paired with a staff member to work on team-building and goal development exercises. The other aspect, Rise, focuses on giving students an opportunity to connect with teachers for additional academic help or to make up school work.

“We are building a significant opportunity for students to build a relationship with another adult,” she said.

Although familiar with middle school administration, Nadeau said Hathorn, her predecessor, has been helpful in the transition from Buxton to Scarborough.

“She’s been really helpful. It’s great to have someone here in the district (to help). David Currier, the assistant principal, has been instrumental working alongside me and helping me to get more familiar with the district,” Nadeau said.

The hiring of Nadeau is the first time someone from outside the district has been hired as middle school principal in some time. Sizemore was principal at the middle school level (first at Wentworth Middle School and then at Scarborough Middle School when it was constructed in 1996) from 1990 until 2008 when she became assistant superintendent. Hathorn, the school’s assistant principal, took over. Hathorn also worked as a sixth-grade teacher at the school.

Sizemore expects Nadeau to be able to step into the role quickly.

“I think Diane is going to do an excellent job at the middle school. She really cares about students and staff. I think it is going to be a good transition,” she said.

After spending the last few weeks meeting staff and getting to know her colleagues, Nadeau will soon turn her focus on getting to know students and their parents.

“The work here is all about the relationships you develop. That’s true with staff. That’s especially true of students,” Nadeau said.

To help with the transition from Wentworth School to Scarborough Middle School, again this year the sixth-graders will report to school on Aug. 29, one day before the seventh- and eighth-graders in order to give the new middle schoolers an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the school, teachers and staff. A Middle School Sneak-Peek, for sixth-graders, new students, and their families will occur Wednesday, Aug. 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. An open house for all students and families will take place Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.

Nadeau was not the only hire approved by the board this month. The board approved seven new staffing assignments. The Scarborough K-2 art program will have a new feel next school year as two new faces join the ranks. Last week Adam Corriveau, who has 10 years experience teaching art in both the public and private sector and eight years as a special education ed tech in various Maine school district, was named a K-2 art teacher. Jessica Chaples was also named a part-time K-2 art teacher. Chaples, who has been in education for more than 10 years and most recently worked as a long-term substitute in the Saco school system.

Sarah Kent was hired to replace Glenn Stankiewicz, who retired as a high school social studies teacher after nine years. Kent had been a social studies teacher at Marshwood High School for the last four years.

While the aforementioned educators are joining Scarborough for the first time, others are taking on new positions within Scarborough schools. Amy Roberson, who spent last year as the high school librarian, has been hired as the middle school learning commons librarian. Roberson has worked in libraries in Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas.

A familiar face, Garrett White, was hired as the middle school art teacher. White filled in as art teacher at Scarborough Middle School last year for a one-year absence.

Kathleen Tirrell, who has worked in various capacities in Scarborough schools since 1989, was tabbed as the middle school improvement specialist. Most recently Tirrell worked as the 6-8 match instructional coach and 6-12 science instructional coach.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarbroughleader.com.

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