BAR HARBOR — Julie Meltzer, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System since 2013, will be leaving that post June 25.
“It’s been a really productive and great eight years,” she said. “Now it’s time for somebody else to put their energy and talents into the role.”
Meltzer said she had thought about leaving a year ago, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided she should stay.
“Now, I’m going to take the summer off for the first time in probably 30 years,” she said. “I plan to take about six months to figure out which of many wonderful opportunities to go forward with.”
Meltzer said there are a number of accomplishments that she is proud of.
“When I came in, I was asked to create a standards-based education system,” she said. “That was a major collaborate effort, and I think people feel pretty good about where we are with that.
“I was also asked to create a structure where there could be more teacher leadership and teacher input, and that’s been great. We have instructional coaching going on now, and there’s much more of a culture of visiting each other’s classrooms and collaborating on projects. I’m really proud of that.”
Meltzer also has coached five new principals.
She also has forged educational partnerships with a number of community organizations.
“For example, this year, all of our fourth graders went to the MDI Bio Lab and had a virtual field trip,” she said. “All sixth graders had some anti-bullying training and healthy relationship building from NextStep [Domestic Violence Project]. And we got all the fifth graders to Camp Beech Cliff for in-person outdoor safety training.
“I really feel good that these kinds of things are part of what we do now. They are part of the experiences that students and teachers look forward to.”
Meltzer is a past president of the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association and was named the association’s 2019 Curriculum Leader of the Year.
“We are unbelievably blessed to have somebody of her caliber and her talents,” said school Superintendent Marc Gousse. “With her work in teaching and learning, she has led us to become one of the finest public school systems in the state.”
Meltzer is a nationally recognized expert on literacy and has written four books on the subject.
“She could teach at any college or university throughout the country, if not the world,” Gousse said.
He also cited her leadership in building partnerships with community organizations.
“She has created professional development opportunities for our teachers…and done the grueling work of standards-based education. And all the work she has done in anti-racism and diversity and inclusion is mindboggling.
“The woman just doesn’t stop. She’s got amazing energy and is always, always positive.”
Meltzer said she will be leaving a school system that continues to have great potential.
“The next curriculum leader is going to be working with amazing teachers and administrators and families and students because there is so much support for education here,” she said. “And where there is support for education, you can do a lot of things.”
Meltzer said that, while each of the schools in the district is different, “I love that we have been able to make sure teachers and students at all our schools have the same quality of opportunities.”