Houlton Region

RSU 29 superintendent, Ellen Halliday honored by staff

HOULTON, Maine — As RSU 29 educators began their school year with annual workshops August 27, they had a surprise in store for Ellen Halliday, the superintendent of schools in the district for the past five years.

Nannette Mills, English Department chairman spoke on behalf of the staff congratulating Halliday for receiving the 2019 Outstanding Leadership Award from her peers. Since taking the role of superintendent, she has spearheaded many improvements, as well as securing several grants.

Halliday is a board member and past president of the New England School Development Council. It has been through her board membership that she has been able to apply for grants that have totaled more than $24,000 for professional development.

She is also a board member for the New England Association of school superintendents and was just appointed by the Speaker of the House to Maine’s Early Childhood Special Education Services. She is on the Independent Review Advisory Committee, as well.

Halliday is the president of the Aroostook County Superintendents Association and is vice-president of the Maine School Superintendents Association.

She collaborated with other districts to form a Regional Service Center, which the state is now calling an Educational Service Center. She wrote a grant for $415,000 for the start up for a regional bus garage and a grant for $570,000 for a regional alternative education program. This grant funded the new Summit Academy opening this fall in the former Military Street Baptist Church in Monument Park. This school provides an alternative program for students in three other area districts as well, which include, Hodgdon, Southern Aroostook and East Grand

Students who may feel overwhelmed in a large facility, with hundreds of students may benefit from this new program. Students must follow strict guidelines or may lose their option for this choice. There are only 30 openings for this school year. Halliday’s goal is to provide the best options for students.

Under Halliday’s leadership the district has provided free breakfast and lunch for elementary students and this year all students, including the high school will benefit from this program.

She has focused not only on educational and professional development, but all staff, all buildings and property. She, along with other RSU 29 administrators has applied for and been put on a state list for a new elementary school.

She has promoted the maintenance, painting, new signage, parking lot improvements and overall impression of the RSU29 campuses. She promotes inclusion of all staff for workshops and district meetings, whether you are a full- time teacher, school nurse, on the custodial or cafeteria teams or a support staff member.

All buildings are now secured for the safety of students and staff.  Training for employees in emergency situations has also been implemented.

Committed to the community, Halliday is a member of Houlton Rotary International and on the Board of Trustees for Houlton Regional Hospital.

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