HOULTON, Maine — Joe Fagnant has worn many hats over his professional career, having served as a music director, JMG instructor and the current director of the Houlton/Hodgdon Adult and Community Education program.
Now he can add one more hat to the rack.
Fagnant was recently named the interim director of operations for RSU 29, a position in which he will serve for the upcoming school year. The district will assess whether to continue with the post in future years.
He replaces Joe Schneider, who left the district to take on a similar role at the Region Two School of Applied Technology.
“Ellen (RSU 29 superintendent Ellen Halliday) approached me a few weeks ago,” Fagnant said. “She knew Joe Schneider was leaving and asked me to help fill in the gaps. This is a challenging time for school districts with a lot of changes.”
“He (Fagnant) has been spending his days with Joe Schneider to take in everything he possibly can, Halliday said. “I needed someone who could shadow, learn and prioritize for the district and Joe (Fagnant) is that person.”
As the interim director of operations for the district, Fagnant will supervise both the transportation and facilities directors. Those positions were only recently filled with Fred Casillas named to the transportation post and Steve Bither tabbed as the facilities director.
“There has been a big learning curve, for sure,” Fagnant said.
Included under his purview is the reopening of the Summit Academy, an alternative education schoolhouse which closed only a few short months after it first opened following a fire in the building.
He also enters his new role at a time when the district, like others across the state, is facing perhaps its most difficult time in the history of education — reopening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The district has been busy removing tables that sit several students and replacing them with individual desks; adding hand sanitizer stations throughout its schools; placing safe distancing markers; and determining bus schedules.
“The regulations are constantly changing,” he said. “Things are very fluid right now.”
Fagnant will continue to serve as the full-time adult education director. Ken Ervin is the assistant director for the program.