EAST MACHIAS – May Bouchard, previously the superintendent for Union 106 in Calais, was hired Tuesday evening as the part-time interim superintendent for SAD 77.
Wednesday morning, she went to work.
The educator of 35 years comes back to public service after just one year in retirement.
“I got to spend time with my grandchildren and do some hobbies,” she said. “Now, I’m ready to be back.”
She plans on working four days a week, although she realizes her part-time status may stretch to a fifth day, too.
Bouchard, 57, spent four years as superintendent for Union 106, which includes Calais, Alexander, Baring, Crawford and Robbinston.
Before that she was the teaching principal for Alexander Elementary School for 12 years.
Her career focus has been elementary education. That’s a good fit for the SAD 77 towns, which have four grammar schools and tuition their high school students to Washington Academy.
“I think SAD 77 is unique because it is primarily an elementary superintendency,” she said. “The high school is here [East Machias], but it’s not part of the district.”
Bouchard is already familiar with the school system because her husband, Ellery Bouchard, served as SAD 77’s superintendent between 1987 and 1993.
The family lived in Machiasport for 13 years. Their youngest daughter, Lori Bouchard, graduated from Washington Academy in 1993.
Bouchard retired from Union 106 a year ago. She said she had gone straight from college to work, giving over many summers to coursework for her advanced degrees.
“I never had a break,” she said. “When I left Calais, I was tired and ready to leave.”
Bouchard has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine at Fort Kent. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of Maine in Orono and a doctorate in education leadership and management from Nova University in Florida.
A native of Eagle Lake, she spent her first 12 years teaching in Aroostook County.
The Bouchards live on Toddy Pond in East Orland. But she will soon relocate to an apartment closer to the district.
She comes into a situation of schools with declining enrollment and sparse budgets. Additionally, one of the towns – East Machias – last month voted to exit the district if it receives permission from the state commissioner of education.
East Machias officials hope to present their case to the commissioner on Aug. 16, 17 or 18. The town’s withdrawal would mean a lower educational budget for its taxpayers than what their current financial commitment to the district is.
On the various pending problems to tackle, Bouchard said, “Our focus should be the children, and we tend to lose track of that sometimes.”
Bouchard takes over for Joseph McBrine, the previous interim superintendent, who resigned on June 30.
McBrine agreed to work last month as a consultant to the board of directors and was the one to show Bouchard around the office on Wednesday.
He said he has more professional plans lined up but declined to reveal them at this point.
“This is May’s day,” he said as he slipped out of the office.