BAR HARBOR — Marc Gousse, superintendent of schools in Westbrook, has be given a five-year contract as superintendent of the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) with a first-year salary of $135,000. He will start July 1.
The MDIRSS board voted unanimously at a special meeting June 2 to hire Gousse to succeed Howard Colter, who is stepping down this summer. Colter last week accepted a one-year contract as interim superintendent of schools in Cape Elizabeth, effective July 1.
Gousse’s starting salary is $6,225 higher than his current salary in Westbrook and $10,764 more than Colter’s final-year salary here.
Charlie Wray, chairman of the MDIRSS board and head of the superintendent search committee, told the Islander, “I’m super pleased that we have a very strong, solid incoming superintendent. He’s got great passion for education, for students.”
Gousse, 56, was born and raised in Lewiston and graduated from Maine Maritime Academy. He served 23 years in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. Before becoming superintendent in Westbrook, he was principal of Westbrook High School for 10. He began his career in education as a classroom teacher; he has taught physics, astronomy, meteorology, marine science, environmental studies, geology and biology. He also has been an assistant athletic director and a varsity soccer and track coach.
“He has climbed the ladder, so he can share his experience with our administrators and teachers,” Wray said. “I also like that he’s a veteran. It shows a dedication to service that’s more than just his career.”
He described Gousse as “humble, honest and forthcoming.”
Wray said he anticipates that some people in the community might question why the school board agreed to Gousse’s request for a five-year contract.
“While a little bit unusual, we think it shows his commitment to taking on this very complex system,” Wray said. “And if we’re going to take this district to the next level, it would be a disaster to have a superintendent for one, two or three years and then be into a search again. So we felt [a five-year contract] was in our best interest, in the students’ and teachers’ best interest.”
Gousse said following the school board’s vote to hire him that he felt “honored and humbled.”
“I’m blessed to be afforded the opportunity to come and join your system,” he said. “And I hope to be your superintendent for a very, very long time, to be part of the good work you’re doing with the kids.”
This story was updated on June 8.