BAR HARBOR — Thirteen new employees are joining the Mount Desert Island Regional School System this year.
Eight other employees are changing schools within the district. And four people who have worked in the local schools in the past are returning this year.
The brand-new employees are school psychologists, Stephanie Logue and Daniel Rynkiewicz, who will be based in the superintendent’s office and work in all the schools in the district.
The other new employees are MDI High School math teachers Ellen Bailey and Justin Harding, Conners Emerson 2nd grade teacher Cathy Oehmke and ed tech Claire Sasner, Mount Desert Elementary ed tech Haley Littlefield, Pemetic Elementary art teacher Emily Michaud and secretary Renee Hodgdon, Tremont Consolidated math teacher Christina Siddons, and Trenton Elementary math and science teacher Amelia Callahan and 5th and 6th grade teacher Rachel Beckwith.
Returning employees who are taking positions in new schools are adult education teacher Michelle Brzezowski, Conners Emerson middle school math teacher Emily Rusiecki and custodian David Tomlinson, Mount Desert science and math teacher Ben Macko and long-term 3rd grade substitute teacher Bethany Johnson, Pemetic teacher Susan Raven, Tremont ed tech Terese Miller and Trenton K-2 special education teacher Katie Ceranic.
Former employees who are returning to the school system this year are MDI High School custodian Joel Linscott, Conners Emerson physical education and health teacher Helen Jolley, Mount Desert ed tech Erin Allen and Cranberry Isles science teacher (20 percent) Lauren Gray.
Rynkiewicz is replacing school psychologist Margarita Marnik, who has retired. Logue has been hired to fill a newly created psychologist position for the school system.
Early this year, Superintendent Marc Gousse had proposed creating that position, but then withdrew that request because he wanted to keep the budget as lean as possible in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But the administrative team [including the school principals] got together and said, ‘This is important. Can we re-think this?’” Gousse said.
“Along with a federal grant, we were able to piece together some significant [financial] commitments from organizations including the Acadia Family Center and the MDI Educational Advancement Fund.”
The result, he said, is that the school psychologist position will be funded for two years, and it will not impact any of the local school budgets.
The need for a second psychologist for the school system became apparent over the past year, Gousse said.
“We have seen a significant increase in the social/emotional needs of our students,” he said. “And COVID has elevated that need even more. The second psychologist position will provide much needed resources and supports for students and families and for staff, as well.”