Meet Dr. Keith Laser, AOS 98 superintendent

Posted:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 8:45am

The Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 School Board announced Tuesday, May 8, Dr. Keith Laser as the next superintendent. He follows interim superintendent Bob Webster. Laser was chosen from a pool of 17 applicants. From the 12 who qualified, two finalists were picked, according to Chair John Bertolet.

The Boothbay Register sat down with Laser to learn a little about the man who will head the AOS 98 system.

Before his career in education, Laser graduated from the United States Naval Academy and spent 20 years in the Navy as a pilot, flying over 3,000 hours and serving as the commanding officer of a helicopter squadron and as a navigator on two nuclear aircraft carriers.

Laser said he reached a point where he could decide to continue going out to sea or retire. “Let’s try something new,” he said.

While starting his education career in Maryland and Pennsylvania private schools, Laser worked on his master's degree at Loyola University Maryland. After he did a stint as a principal in Maryland, two schools in Laser’s hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania announced plans to consolidate. He saw it as an opportunity to try something even newer, and he said the timing could never have been better. He decided to pursue a doctorate of education from Nova Southeastern University while presiding as principal over his hometown’s newly consolidated school, Holy Name High School, for eight years.

While in that job, Laser saw the opening for an assistant superintendent of the Auburn School Department and decided to apply.

“I was stationed in Brunswick back in 1976 … and that’s when I fell in love with Maine."

His parents-in-law moved to Bath in the late 1980s, so Laser and his family have been visiting the area for the past 30 years and he wanted to make Maine more than just a second home.

Laser got the job in Auburn and remained there two years before taking his first superintendent job, in the AOS 77 system in Calais. He has served the past four years as superintendent of Regional School Unit (RSU) 67 in Lincoln.

"When I saw this (AOS 98) opening, I thought 'Wow, this is right next door,’” said Laser. “It's a great community, a great school system … and having the continuity of the superintendent – Eileen King there for years – I knew the district would be a great place to work."

Laser had no expectations when he applied, and considers himself blessed to get the job. He said he and his family will keep their 160 year-old, Bath home overlooking the Kennebec River. He is thrilled to be working much closer to home. The RSU 67 job required being away most of the week.

In his free time, Laser enjoys fishing, boating, reading and board games, but his all-time favorite thing to do is to simply spend time with his wife Marta and their seven children. “I love spending time with my family.”

What does Laser expect coming into AOS 98?

“Well, I definitely will go slow. Education is a people business,” he said. “I like to meet people and be out in the community and understand what their feelings are about the school system.”

After that, it is time to work together collaboratively to do whatever needs to be done, Laser said. In the first six months, he wants to meet as many people as he can to get to know them and learn about their ideas and concerns.

Laser said his ultimate goal is not much different than at past schools and school systems: leverage technology.

Said Laser, "I know that the district has made a huge investment in technology as all school districts have. How do you leverage that? There are just so many things you can do and the kids are hungry for it.”