New RSU 26 superintendent settling into job

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ORONO – When Meredith Higgins was hired this spring as the new superintendent of schools for RSU 26, it truly was a return to familiar ground – right down to her having the same office she did when she worked in Orono nearly a decade ago. She’s glad to be back, she said this w…ORONO – When Meredith Higgins was hired this spring as the new superintendent of schools for RSU 26, it truly was a return to familiar ground – right down to her having the same office she did when she worked in Orono nearly a decade ago.
She’s glad to be back, she said this week in an interview. And she’s been enjoying working with folks both familiar and new in her first few weeks on the job.
“The timing was perfect when this job became available. It’s been great to be able to reconnect and meet new faces and family as well,” said Higgins. “Being able to be a part of this community again has been a great draw for me.”
Higgins is originally from Florida; he husband, however, is from this area. She had stints as a teacher, assistant principal, and what was then Union 87’s curriculum coordinator from 2004-2008 before she and her family moved back to her home state. While there she also served in various roles, including as an assistant principal, a principal, and director of professional development. For the longest part of her time there, she was involved in a charter school, which she helped open from the ground up, being involved with everything from the vision statement for the school to helping select the mascot.
Last year, though, her husband’s engineering job brought them back to Maine again. Higgins served a year as assistant superintendent for AOS 43 before becoming RSU 26 superintendent on July 1.
When asked what she considered her management style, Higgins said she tries to look at multiple perspectives when making a decision.
“I like to seek out information from the people who have the knowledge and expertise,” she said. “I think every person in this organization has their own important perspective that can help me in making decisions. Also, I’m not really a reactionary person; I like to think before answering.”
Higgins said she sees RSU 26 as having many strengths. Including diverse academic and athletic programs.
“It’s been that way for many years. We have a reputation as an excellent school system and the accolades to back it up,” said Higgins.
Still, she acknowledges there is room for improvement. One important issue that will be looked at this year are facilities and ensuring they meet the needs of students in the years ahead. Higgins said that will be a front burner issue this year, with a study to be done on that subject.
“We’re seeking out professional advice and going through the process of defining priorities and needs and cresting a plan on how to move forward. We’ll also be looking at the STEM area and adding course,” said Higgins. “I’m not saying we have to push the reset button; we have quality programs and staff. We just want to be ensure that good work can continue in the future.”
Higgins, who with her husband and two of their four children (the other two are in college) moved to Orono last week, said she will have an open door policy as superintendent and welcomes the public to reach out to her with their input and concerns. She also plans a couple of coffee sessions in the next couple months to meet with folks.
‘I’m looking forward to hearing what people have to say and meeting more of the community in the coming months,” she said.