Belfast professor hired as Maine Seacoast Mission president

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 4:45pm

BAR HARBOR — The Maine Seacoast Mission has announced that John Zavodny will be its new president beginning February 19, 2019. He assumes the Mission’s position following the retirement of the Reverend Scott Planting, who has served as president since 2010.

Since 1905, the Mission has served the isolated communities of the unbridged islands and coastal villages of Hancock and Washington counties with health, education, food assistance, Christmas, and community-building programs, and pastoral care.

As president, he will oversee the operation of the Maine Seacoast Mission and its many programs delivered from campuses in Bar Harbor and Cherryfield, and from the Sunbeam, a 74-foot boat.

Zavodny, who holds a doctorate, comes to the Mission from his current position as chief of staff at Unity College in Unity. During his 18-year career at Unity College, Zavodny has also served as professor of philosophy and humanities, academic chair, director of the Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities, and dean of academic services.

Stacey Smith, board chair, said in a news release: "we are fortunate to welcome John to the Mission. During our interviews with him his excitement and compassion for the work of the Mission and an understanding of life in rural Maine were evident. He is a broad and collaborative thinker, an empathetic communicator and we look forward to the next chapters of the Maine Seacoast Mission with John at the helm."

Zavodny has also been active as a community volunteer, serving on the board of WERU Community Radio in Orland, and in various capacities for the Camden Conference and the Maine Humanities Council, among others.

He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in classical languages from Lipscomb University.

He currently lives in Belfast, but plans to relocate to the Mount Desert Island area.

“What an incredible opportunity and humbling responsibility,” said Zavodny, in the release. “Over the last century, leaders like Scott Planting have helped Maine Seacoast Mission establish a powerful history of service with island and coastal Maine communities. With the support of the board, friends of the Mission, and amazing team of professionals already in place we can steward that legacy, honor community relationships, and build on the good work that has already been accomplished.”