SEARSPORT — A familiar face has been appointed as the new principal of Searsport District Middle and High School following the summer resignation of Marianne DeRaps.
Joshua Toothaker was appointed by RSU 20 Superintendent Chris Downing to the position, and the school board will formally vote on his appointment at its upcoming meeting Sept. 8.
“I'm excited and humble for this opportunity,” he said.
Toothaker taught at the school for nine years and has served the past two years as Dean of Students. He also previously served as the school’s athletic director.
“I live in the community and am fully invested in SDMHS,” Toothaker said of his decision to accept the promotion.
Aside from his deep investment into the school, Toothaker noted his history at the school provides an advantage as he transitions to his new role.
“Familiarity with the school and community is a huge benefit,” he said. “Having the institutional history and knowledge of how we got to where we currently are is a major benefit.”
Under his leadership, Toothaker intends to continue the ongoing examination of systems and structures for students’ academic and behavioral success, a project that began last year.
“We'll be taking the time to define and refine those systems to ensure we as a school are poised to meet the needs of our students in the most effective and efficient way possible,” he said.
The ongoing COVID-19 has presented school administrators across the state, and nation, a myriad of challenges for in-person instruction, a challenge Toothaker is now tasked with addressing in more detail than when he served as the dean.
“We face the challenge of having to redefine schools after we get through this current challenge,” said Toothaker. “With so much upheaval and shifting we are likely not going to have school look the same. It's an exciting yet overwhelming opportunity at this point to be in education and be at the forefront of a paradigm shift like this.”
He noted the staff is a huge asset to the school, when asked to identify the greatest strength of SDMHS.
“They care deeply for the school and students and want nothing less for them than the very best,” he said.