King named Gray-New Gloucester schools superintendent

Craig King

Dr. Craig King has been hired as the new superintendent of School Administrative District 15 starting mid-August.

King replaces Bruce Beasley, who has taken a position at a New Hampshire school. Beasley served as an administrator in the Gray-New Gloucester school district for 17 years.

A native of Fort Kent and graduate of its University of Maine school, King is the current superintendent of Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 in Dixfield.

He has been a Peace Corps volunteer, teacher and principal during his career, according to a press release from the district. He holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate of educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. He completed his superintendent’s licensure program at the University of Maine.

“I am very excited about becoming superintendent at SAD 15,” King said in the press release. “Having lived in different parts of the United States and foreign countries, I have developed a very deep appreciation for Maine and its people. Maine schools are extraordinary institutions that produce graduates who successfully contribute to all facets of our society at the local, state and national level. I am eager to work with the faculty, staff and broader community to provide an excellent education for the children of Gray and New Gloucester. ”

King, who lives in Rumford, said in a phone interview Wednesday he’s also excited about moving closer to his family in southern Maine. He’s looking at living in Gray-New Gloucester or “as close as possible,” he said.

As an educator and administrator, King’s focus is on “moving organizations forward in the goals they are trying to achieve.”

“When I was a teacher, I worked to move the students forward. As a principal I moved the school forward, and as a superintendent I’m interested in moving the school district forward and having great schools for the kids,” King said.

King was officially named superintendent after visiting the district’s schools last week to meet with staff, students and community members. He was selected from a pool of 16 applicants.

When King visited Gray-New Gloucester, what stood out is “the real sense of belonging every place I went,” he said.

The sense of community he found at G-NG among students, parents and teachers is “important when trying to create success in the schools,” King said.

School Board Chairwoman Tina Martell said the district is “extremely pleased to have attracted a superintendent of Dr. King’s caliber to lead our schools here in Gray-New Gloucester. Because of his extensive experience creating and leading effective organizations, Dr. King will be a tremendous asset and resource to the District.”

Martell said it was important to the district’s stakeholders to “find an experienced leader who will immerse himself in school and community culture, and all found Dr. King thoughtful and ready with great ideas.”

King will be paid a salary of $127,000 annually,  Martell said Wednesday. Beasley, who had not served as a superindent prior to moving up within the school system at Gray-New Gloucester, was paid $121,00.

“(King) is coming to us after years of experience as a superintendent,” Martell said.

The SAD 15 board has hired Dr. J. Michael Wilhelm, who served as superintendent of the Topsham school district for 19 years before retiring, as interim superintendent from July 1 until King’s mid-August start date.

Craig King