BAR HARBOR — Marc Gousse, superintendent of schools in Westbrook since 2011, is the lone finalist for the job of superintendent of the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS).
He plans to visit several schools in the district today (Thursday) and meet with administrators, teachers and support staff. Members of the public can meet him at a reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the library at MDI High School.
“We’re asking everybody who has an opportunity to meet him to respond online with their reactions or comments,” said Superintendent Howard Colter, who is retiring this summer. Comments may be submitted via the MDIRSS website.
The school system board has asked Colter to check Gousse’s references.
He will report his findings, along with any input from the public, to the board in a closed-door session Tuesday, May 31. Then the board is expected to vote in open session on whether to offer Gousse the job.
Gousse, 56, told the Islander on Tuesday that he is excited about the possibility of becoming the MDIRSS superintendent.
“It’s an outstanding opportunity,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal school district; they value education. I’m looking to make a 10- or 15-year commitment to the Mount Desert Island region.”
Gousse said he is quite familiar with the area and that he and his wife had talked about possibly moving here at some point.
“It just seemed that the stars were in alignment, that they were looking for a candidate,” he said of the MDIRSS board. “Hopefully, my skill sets match the things they are looking for.”
Having worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and superintendent, Gousse said he has had experience with practically every aspect of public education.
“And I’ve had the good fortune to be mentored by some great administrators and teachers,” he said.
Gousse was born and raised in Lewiston, where he served on the City Council from 2000 to 2002.
He graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1982 and worked as a merchant mariner for 11 years. In 1983, he discovered his love for teaching as a substitute teacher in Lewiston. That same year, he enrolled at Bates College, where he completed certification requirements to become a science teacher.
His first full-time job in education was as a middle school science teacher in Sabattus in 1984. Three years later, he joined the faculty at Edward Little High School in Auburn, where he taught physics, astronomy and meteorology and coached varsity soccer and track.
Gousse served as assistant principal and athletic director at Gray-New Gloucester High School and as assistant principal at Edward Little before being named principal at Westbrook High School in 2001. He served in that post until 2011, when he was hired as superintendent.
Gousse earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern Maine in 1997 and a doctoral degree in educational administration from California Coast University in 2012.
He retired from the U.S. Navy as a commander in 2005 after 23 years of military service.
He currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Greater Portland, Westbrook Children’s Cabinet, Westbrook Housing Authority, Westbrook Development Corporation and Maine Maritime Academy.
In the biographical material he submitted with his application for the superintendent’s job, Gousse said he has focused his career on creating opportunities for all students to succeed and has worked to increase “literacy, attendance, graduation rates, post-secondary opportunities and aspirations.”
Gousse was one of two applicants for the MDIRSS superintendent’s job that the MDIRSS search committee invited to be interviewed by the full board. That interview occurred May 16.
The other finalist was to come for an interview May 18 but decided to remain in his current position.
The search process in which Gousse has emerged as the only finalist is the second conducted by the school board this year. The board decided in March not to offer the job to either of the two people whom the search committee had selected as finalists.
The MDIRSS includes eight elementary/middle schools and MDI High School. The Westbrook school department has three K-4 schools: a middle school, a high school and a vocational school.