New AOS superintendent presents short, long-term goals

Dr. Keith Laser starts work
Posted:  Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 10:45am

Dr. Keith Laser is so new to his job as Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98  superintendent, he is not only busy putting names with faces, he is also learning which Boothbay Harbor streets are one way. At the July 19 AOS board meeting in Edgecomb, Laser joked about how local police educated him about local traffic.

“Not only am I getting to know staff, office personnel and community members, I’m learning what streets are one way by Boothbay Harbor police,” he said.

His first AOS board meeting came days into his job. Laser presented his short-term and long-term goals. The 20-year Navy pilot and, most recently, four-year Regional School Unit 67  Lincoln superintendent listed introducing himself to the staff and community as his top short-term goal. He visited Boothbay Harbor’s and Boothbay’s town managers and met with staff and Chamber of Commerce representatives in his office, and is currently completing meeting with the five school principals. “I’m trying to learn all the names and faces in my first few days in hopes of getting acclimated to all the things which make each dynamic within this district unique,” he said.

Other short-term goals include using the AOS website to provide relevant information to the public and social media to promote school events. Laser hopes to complete this goal by December. He also wants a determination by November detailing “needs” and “desires” from each school board for the superintendent’s and central office’s support.

After reviewing AOS 98 policies, he found several hadn’t been updated since 1994. He wants all policies updated using Maine School Management Association and attorney recommendations. Laser also wants a complete job description in place for all AOS employees by the calendar year’s end.

His long-term goals include performing and completing performance evaluations on all district employees who report to the superintendent. Laser set an April 30 deadline each year for these evaluations. Laser also listed learning about each school’s funding and financial challenges and opportunities in working on annual budget. “I will gain an appreciation as I work with each board in the winter and spring completing their budgets,” he said.

The AOS board has its own goals. The board’s consensus was to develop a new procedure for evaluating school principals and the superintendent. “I think we are really excited about taking this journey with you in re-evaluating our system,” said member Heather Sinclair of Edgecomb. “We’re looking forward to tearing open the evaluation system and seeing what changes are needed. I see a system where the board, staff and community all have input.”

The board also wants Laser to research declining enrollments. Members encouraged Laser to investigate why some students leave the district for other educational opportunities. The board also want him to present two five-year plans, one for attracting more students, the other a contingency plan in case enrollment continues its steep decline.

The board will also meet on a more regular basis. During last year’s superintendent search, the board met monthly, instead of the traditional one or two meetings per year. This year, the board will meet every other month. The board meets next at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 at Edgecomb Eddy School.