New Limestone principal announced

4 years ago

LIMESTONE, Maine — The Limestone School Board recently hired Ben Lothrop as the new principal of their school effective July 1, or the official date of the town’s withdrawal from the RSU 39 school unit, which currently consists of Caribou, Limestone and Stockholm.

Lothrop is bringing 20 years of education experience to the new position, and actually began his educational career in Limestone as a high school social studies teacher in 1999.

“It’s cool to come back to where I started,” he said.

Lothrop said a friend had encouraged him to apply for the position and was excited to learn that he was accepted as the new principal.

“I found out at the school board meeting in May,” he said. “I don’t officially start until July 1, although I’ve been here for a few days.”

Lothrop said his priorities over the summer will be to prepare for the new school year and also to interview and hire employees to fill vacant positions from retires or resignations. According to the school’s official website, 13 positions are currently open as of June 16, including two full-time teaching positions.

While all current staff are still technically employed by RSU 39 until the transition date, all full-time staff at the Limestone Community School will continue their jobs under the new administration next year as part of the withdrawal agreement.

“The first priority is going to be doing our hires,” he said. “That’s going to be number one. We’ve got to get people on board as soon as possible, because you want to get the best people available. Teachers are looking at the start of the summer, so we need to move quickly and try to get the best we can get.”

Lothrop said he looks forward to the challenges ahead while working as the principal of a new school district.

“There’s a lot to it,” he said. “You can’t just snap your fingers. They’ve had the school here and a lot of things are already set up, but we do have to build some things from the ground up. It’s going to be fun to do that and try to make the way that you want and the way the community wants it.”

While Lothrop now has an extensive background in education, he cut his teeth working as a reporter at the Star-Herald, a job he took on just a year out of high school.

“I spent five years working for the Star-Herald,” he said, “three as their sports editor and two years doing straight news.”

Lothrop worked alongside Kevin Sjoberg who was then a sports editor for the Aroostook Republican. Sjoberg continued to write for the Aroostook Republican until early 2019.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “And in all honesty it taught me how to write, which was a great thing.”

After his time at the newspaper, he received a degree in education from University of Maine at Presque Isle. Since then, he worked as an assistant principal in Lincoln and an associate principal in Van Buren for five years each, and said he looks forward to returning to the first school he worked at as an educator.

“I’m excited to come back here and do this,” he said. “Being a principal is a fun job that I’ve really enjoyed, so it’s exciting to get back to it.”