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Friday, June 14, 2019

So long, farewell and good luck to Superintendent Sandy Prince

By Lorraine Glowczak

In about two weeks and after 16 years at the helm, RSU14 Superintendent Sandy Prince will move on to new territory and adventures, handing the baton to Assistant Principal, Chris Howell.

Prince has spent the past 39 years of his career in education, first obtaining his degree in education at the University of Maine in Farmington. His initial foray in education, a vocation near and dear to his heart, was at the Spurwink School in Portland, working with students with special needs. At that time, Brown Elementary School, which was (and still is) part of the South Portland School System, rented classrooms from Spurwink, so Prince gained additional experiences in the public special education sector.

“While I was there, I picked up six college credits towards a master’s where I finally obtained my graduated degree in Exceptional Student Education at USM,” Prince said, further explaining that ‘Exceptional’ Education’ was the term used for Special Education at that time.

Soon upon his completion of his master’s, he taught educational leadership courses at the University of New England. In 1981, he was hired as Windham’s first full-time kindergarten special education teacher. “Sue Gendron was the teaching principal at that time, and she was like a mentor to me,” 

stated Prince. “I learned so much from her - I was only 26 years old. She was a great thinker and had a sensible approach to educational administration. I admired her ability to work with people and not micromanage them. I have always tried to emulate her leadership style.” Gendron eventually became the RSU14 Superintendent of Schools until Prince took her place 16 years ago.

http://www.windhammaine.us/After about four years in his teaching role, he became Director of Special Education services in Gorham. “I was hired by Dr. Connie Goldman,” stated Prince. “Connie led by example where she always made her decisions based on what was right for students. She hired some of the best educators and everyone admired Dr. Goldman who was a Harvard graduate.” 

While with the Gorham school system, Prince filled the role of principal at Rock [elementary] School as well as Gorham Falls, a kindergarten center. He also held the role of interim middle school principal for approximately three years. 

It was during his time there that he once again experienced and witnessed great leadership in action with Tim McCormick, who replaced Dr. Goldman. “He could not only think well and have great vision, but he was a genius at implementing that vision. It’s one thing to say you will execute an idea, but it is quite another to carry through and do it well.”

Prince moved on to Portland where he was the Principal of Lyseth Elementary for a couple of years and then accepted the position of Assistant Director of Educational Planning at Portland’s central office. Once again, he was guided by great leadership who helped pave the way to his own role as superintendent. “In Portland, MaryJane McCallum was the superintendent who hired me to be Principal of Lyseth School. An amazing leader who had great vision and was able to build a K- Adult school system that was well aligned for the 21st century.”

http://www.genest-concrete.com/ After 16 years, he returned to Windham where, he has admitted is the “home of his soul.”
When asked about fond memories of the community he stated that he loved working in special
education and really enjoyed his contact with both students and parents. As far as successes, he points to the teachers and staff who made the biggest impact on students’ educational achievements. “I have been amazed at the high quality and passionate educators, staff and parents who provide a fun, learning atmosphere for our students,” he said. “I’m truly amazed and grateful.”

Prince admitted that it is the nature of the job to take a hit once in a while. “But I have always tried to make the best decision for kids – and I always tried to listen and respond with understanding in challenging circumstances.”

As Howell steps forward this fall, Prince offers a few words of wisdom. “First, I must say I am wicked excited for Chris,” he began and then continued. “As for advice I would remind him to also stay focused on the children and do what you morally believe is right. I know without a doubt that he will do well as the new superintendent – and will take it further, creating more successes.”

Next fall, Prince will take on a temporary position at the Scarborough School District. As far as retirement? “I’m keeping my options open.”

Good luck and farewell, Mr. Prince – and thank you for your dedication to the Windham and Raymond students. You will be missed.

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