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Supt. Steve Bailey named MSMA executive director

AOS 93 Superintendent Steve Bailey, a former teacher, principal and Maine Superintendent of the Year, has been selected to be the new executive director of Maine School Management Association, the service organization for both the Maine School Boards Association and the Maine School Superintendents Association.

Bailey, who has been superintendent of Damariscotta-based AOS 93 since 2011, said in his new position he will continue to work for students through the school boards and superintendents he will represent.

“Schools and school systems serve students. School Boards and superintendents exist to create quality, equitable learning opportunities for all children. MSMA exists to support those school leaders in that important work,” Bailey said.

“Our schools need to be vibrant places of learning, exploration and demonstration of competence. Seeing students develop into independent, inquisitive, collaborative and responsible individuals is a goal we all must share and nurture,” he said.

Bailey will officially begin his new responsibilities at MSMA in mid-July. Former Executive Director Dale Douglass, who came out of retirement to lead the organization for the past year, will help with the transition.

Bailey, a resident of West Bath, began his education career as a teacher in Veazie at the Jon Graham School and ultimately became that school’s principal. He also served as principal in Exeter, N.H., and then in South Portland, where he was honored as a National Distinguished Principal. He served as curriculum director and then assistant superintendent in South Portland, before moving to AOS 93. He was named Superintendent of the Year in 2015.

He has worked with school boards in school unions, municipalities and alternative organization structures (AOSs), including the 29 board members in AOS 93.

MSBA President Becky Fles, chairman of the MSMA’s Policy Committee, said Bailey brings with him the kind of leadership skills the organization needs.

“There’s something about Steve – a quiet steadiness,” she said. “He has experience, wisdom and integrity and is a very open communicator.”

Because of his work with school boards, Fles said he clearly understands the role of boards and what the organization needs to do to support them.

“He is able to articulate that strong school boards make strong schools and a strong association. He gets it and will be able to create meaningful board training for our members,” she said.

Superintendent Roger Shaw, chairman of the Action Committee, said that in addition to Bailey’s extensive background in education the quality that sets him apart as a leader is his personality.

“He is articulate and well-spoken and has a feistiness to him when he’s talking about important issues, but he also can calm people down. He totally disarms you with his smile,” Shaw said.

Bailey has served as MSSA president for the past year, and in that role has appeared before the Legislature on key bills and been interviewed by numerous media outlets, particularly on the governor’s proposed budget. Shaw said that advocacy work will continue when Bailey takes over as MSMA’s executive director.

“There’s been a negative message out there about public education and school leaders for the last six to eight years,” Shaw said. “There’s been an effort to shut school boards and superintendents out of the discussion. As an organization we have to refocus on the vital role of school leadership, and Steve has the skills to do that.”

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