• Jordan D. Smith

Oakwood Elementary Principal Hire Declines Position


It takes a very special person to be an elementary school principal. Filling a vacancy for a principal position is a very important process as the principal has such an impact on not only the students but also the teachers and support staff under their charge. A good principal really makes a difference in their school.


Since March of this year, Oakwood Elementary school has been without a permanent principal due to the departure of Mrs. Elizabeth Findley who had been with Portland Public Schools (PPS) for the past five years. As previously reported in the Beacon, since that time the role of interim principal has been filled by Mrs. Kelly Roe, a recently retired principal from Morrice. Said PPS Superintendent, Will Heath, “Mrs. Roe is an accomplished teacher and administrator and we are lucky to have her with us for the end of the year.”


The Portland school district began the process of interviewing candidates earlier this year and recommended to the school board, Mr. Nate Aquilina at a recent board meeting. Mr. Aquilina the current principal at Pine Avenue Elementary School in Alma, was hired by the school board at that meeting to fill the open position of principal at Oakwood Elementary. According to Superintendent Heath, Mr. Aquilina subsequently received the opportunity to apply for the position of superintendent of Alma Public Schools and submitted his resignation. “This was a great opportunity for him,” says Heath, “and we support him in his efforts to advance his career in education. His resignation has then opened up the hiring process again.”


The problem of finding qualified faculty, administrators, and staff for schools is not limited to Portland or only principal positions. “There are a lot of open educator positions, at all levels, open right now. Every district is actively looking to hire the best candidates right now,” says Heath, “we have several positions open for next year and they are posted on our website. If you know of anyone that is looking to move to our area, now is the time to apply.”


In the meantime, Heath told the Beacon, Mrs. Roe will stay on as interim principal at Oakwood through the remainder of the school year. “This will provide some consistency for our staff and students,” he said. PPS is currently interviewing additional candidates and plans to make a decision in the next few weeks for review by the school board at the May 24th or June 14th meeting. Once selected and hired, the new principal will start work on July 1st.

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