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Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 21, 2014
In time for fall, board approves new hires for Penobscot school

by Anne Berleant

Students will see a new face when they start a new school year on September 2. Jennifer Jacques of Orland was approved by the school board as the new secretary. Her two children were also approved to attend the pre-K-8 elementary school; one will enter first grade and the other is a rising eighth grader.

“I was quite favorably impressed with her,” said board member Charlie Brenton.

Jacques is known locally as owner—and innovator of—the “Itty Bitty House,” a garage-converted-to-house she built with help from community members on the Peninsula and beyond. Jacques and her family moved into the house, located near Toddy Pond, in June.

“I was barraged with references for her,” Principal Allen Cole told board members at their August 11 meeting. “She’s even-keeled, very personable and positive.” Jacques has previously taught English as a second language in Lewiston and, while she has no secretarial experience, “she has skills that transfer well.”

The board also approved Ann Martin as second grade and RTI (Response to Intervention) teacher. Martin heard of the position while visiting family in Castine, interviewed by Skype from her home in Virginia, and “has already moved and bought a house” in Blue Hill, said Cole. She is a University of Southern Maine graduate.

In PenBrook coaching appointments, Dan Pert was approved for A and B girls basketball at $300 stipend each,and Jan Leach as athletic director at $700. Brooksville will pay an equal amount. The two schools have combined students for extra-curricular sports teams for several years. Superintendent Mark Hurvitt was approved to “hire and inform” a soccer coach before the September board meeting.

Cole also reported on the second summer of Leaping Literacy camp—“[It’s] really good. I was a little skeptical last year”—and asked the board to approve five days at Camp Kieve for seventh graders—an annual tradition for area schools such as Brooksville, Sedgwick, Brooklin and Blue Hill. The camp is located on the Damariscotta Lake and teaches leadership skills and “young adolescent skills and awareness,” Penobscot previously sent its seventh grade class each year but hasn’t in many years, Cole said. Proceeds from the Chris K 5K will fund nearly all the $205 per student cost, with the five seventh graders fundraising the $145 still needed.

Finally, the board approved a union-wide pilot teacher evaluation plan, required under new state law, with the full program slated for 2015-16 implementation. A committee of teachers and principals unanimously recommended the model used by the Lewiston School District.

Next meeting

Monday, September 8, 6 p.m., school