School Administrative District #47

I believe in public service. I believe it to be incumbent of every citizen to give back to the community in which he or she lives. I live in Oakland and have served more than 24 years as a member of the Board of Directors of MSAD#47. (1978-84, 1988-97, 1998-2001, 2003-2009). The Central Maine Morning Sentinel published this story.

OAKLAND -- Michael Gosselin, SAD 47 Board of Directors chairman, steps down from his post Wednesday.

Gosselin, a retired Waterville Senior High School physics teacher, is widely known for his ugly ties, sharp intellect and quick wit.

He also is dedicated to public service and the belief that children always come first.

Gosselin, an Oakland resident, first won election to the SAD 47 board 31 years ago and, despite a few gaps in his tenure on the committee, has always been involved with the school system in some fashion. He recently rejoined the committee after an Oakland member resigned suddenly.

"I think he knows we have a good district," SAD 47 board member Donna Doucette said. "His children went (to Oakland schools). He has always been a part of the education committee to make sure the children get a good education."

Gosselin said he is a "people person." During his long service on the board -- he figures he held a seat for 24 years -- he never met a fellow member he didn't like and respect, he said.

"I have never gone to a meeting saying 'I wish so and so weren't there,' or anything like that," he said.

SAD 47 Superintendent James C. Morse Sr., who leaves for a new job as Portland Public Schools superintendent this summer, worked with Gosselin during much of his 13-year tenure at the district's top administrator.

He said those dealings invariably were pleasant ones, especially with Gosselin's dry sense of humor to cut the tension when controversial issues arose.

"I came to truly appreciate that sense of humor," Morse said, "because it really helped me at various times when dealing with difficult issues."

Morse said Gosselin brought multiple perspectives to the board, being a teachers' union negotiator in the Waterville school system and a school official who worked the other side of the table for SAD 47.

"He was incredibly insightful when it came to knowing how a school system works (from both perspectives)," Morse said.

Morse said his relationship with Gosselin was always a positive one.

"I consider Mike a friend," he said. "He was on the school board that hired me, and I learned from him. He was very knowledgeable about the district and parliamentary procedure, how to run a meeting, and how to keep people on task ... I really think of Mike as a mentor."

Board member Kelly Roderick also is fond of Gosselin, who is her next-door neighbor.

"He cares a lot about every person he gets involved with: all the staff, all the students, all the parents, every board member," she said.

Roderick enjoys Gosselin's sense of humor, too.

In recent years, Gosselin traded his trademark ugly ties for another signature form of dress.

"Since he retired (as a school teacher), I've only seen him wear Hawaiian shirts," Roderick said.

Gosselin doesn't deny it.

"It is another way of making a small statement," he said, "that this shirt and this wearer are just a little bit different."

Gosselin's tenure as SAD 47 ends at the same time the school district dissolves. SAD 47 merges with the China School Department to become Regional School Unit 18 on July 1.

Doucette, a member of the new RSU 18 board, said she and fellow directors interacted well with Gosselin.

At the same time, she said that having a new leader for the RSU 18 board -- Laura Tracy is the chairwoman -- is appropriate.

"I think we need change," she said. "I think the things happening now for the district are good. It's healthy."

Colin Hickey -- 861-9205

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