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Longtime educator takes over as principal at Washburn elementary and high schools

WASHBURN, Maine — Maine educator Sean Casey recently began his duties as principal of both Washburn District Elementary School and Washburn District High School, hoping to add another exciting chapter in his decades long career. 

He replaces the now retired high school principal Ron Ericson and former elementary school principal Melanie Cote Blais, who has assumed a new position as curriculum coordinator for RSU 29 in Houlton. Due to changes within the school budget, SAD 45 officials voted to hire one principal instead of two.

After receiving his degree in social work from the University of Acadia in Nova Scotia, Casey, who is a native of Orono, began his teaching career in 1974. He taught at a Montessori school in Jacksonville, Florida, while earning his master’s degree in education. He went on to spend a total of 20 years as the athletic director at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota, and then at the University of Maine at Machias.

Casey also is experienced as a school administrator both in Maine and overseas, having served as principal of Forest Hill School in Jackman, Penobscot Community School in Penobscot, Acton Elementary School in Acton, and Shenzhen American International School in Shenzhen, China.

While working as the tribal administrator for the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Casey began to learn more about Aroostook County and the specific economic and educational challenges that local towns face. He saw the position of Washburn principal as an opportunity to help administrators and teachers give the best possible education to students despite declining enrollment and an uncertain future.

“We’re in a time of change for the school and the town, but the staff members and parents have been wonderful during these last weeks,” Casey said. “It’s daunting to know that I’m replacing two great principals but I hope to continue a rich tradition that the school has had for many years.”

Casey now lives in Washburn at a house that he is renting and commutes to his home in Bangor on the weekends. He has spent much of the past month meeting with Washburn municipal leaders and learning more about the town through community members and the Salmon Brook Historical Society. He said he looks forward to serving students for years to come.

“I want them have a principal that they know is going to be with the school a long time and who wants to be there,” Casey said.

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