RSU 29 welcomes new superintendent, approves business manager position

3 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — The RSU 29 school board officially welcomed its new superintendent, Richard Lyons, to the district Monday, July 12, during the board’s regularly monthly meeting.

Lyons, a native of Masardis, was selected as the next superintendent June 23. He takes over for Ellen Halliday, who left the district June 30 after six years with the district. Monday’s meeting was Lyons first official in-person gathering with the school board.

“I have done a great deal of listening over the last six or seven days and I am very pleased to be with you here in RSU 29,” Lyons said. “There is a lot going on and I want to commend you [school board] for developing and sustaining the infrastructure you have here in the district.”

Lyons lauded the district for recognizing the importance of having key leadership positions, such as transportation director, curriculum coordinator and director of facilities.

“I have enjoyed my conversations with these directors, as well as the school principals,” he said. “They have given me a lot to think about. I am anxious for school to start, because I can’t wait to see the kids. We have a great district and I look forward to leading it forward.”

The board unanimously agreed to move forward with a plan to create the position of business manager within the district. Historically, RSU 29 has not had a business manager, leaving those responsibilities to the superintendent.

“This position really excites me, folks,” Lyons said. “I have been fortunate in all the districts that I have worked in, to have a business manager.”

He noted that even the small island community of Vinalhaven, with a school system of 161 students, had a business manager.

“This is a great asset for the district and I commend you for having the vision to solidify this position,” Lyons said. 

According to the job description, the business manager will administer the business affairs of the district in such a way to provide the best possible educational services with the financial resources available. The person will also assist in the supervision of transportation, food services and the physical plant.

Funding for the position was already built into the 2021-22 school budget that was approved by residents back in May, according to board chairman Fred Grant. The salary range for similar positions varies, depending on the school district, Lyons said. Some business managers earn a salary in the $40,000 per year range for smaller districts, while in larger areas the salary can be as high as $140,000.

No decision on the salary range was made at Monday night’s meeting. The position will be advertised, with the hopes of bringing a candidate forward by the next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 2.