Unsung Heroes: The CO Administrative Staff

written by Mandi Favreau, Carl Gartley, and Gary Smith

The school year has wrapped up, the students have gone home, and even most of the teachers have closed up their classrooms until fall. Up in Central Office, however, one group is still very busy. Behind the scenes of all that goes on in our district is a team of professionals who have had a very fast paced, change-filled year, and it’s not over yet. 

The Central Office administrative staff has seen a lot of personnel changes and restructuring this year, but they have rolled with it all with grace and have kept everything working like a finely oiled machine. Each member of this dedicated team does so much for our district that falls way below the radar. We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge each of them for their amazing work.  

Robin Portwine, the CO Receptionist, is the first face you see when you come into the CO. She’s friendly and helpful and does her best to find the answers community members, students, and teachers are looking for. Robin is always eager to take on more work to help out her colleagues. She’s everyone’s “go-to” and helps all departments, from nutrition to payroll. 

Kristi Farrell, the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, has strong ties to the district.  A Messalonskee graduate with children attending RSU 18 schools, Kristi is deeply invested in everything she does. Amidst all the changes in the CO, she has learned quickly and independently how to handle the many hats she wears. In addition to keeping Superintendent Gartley on track, she does state reporting, student transfers, secondary tuition, certificate tracking, and staff contracts, just to name a few. With her strong work ethic and genuine desire to help, Kristi makes everyone who calls or comes in feel like their issue is her top priority.

Megan Bacon is Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent, Keith Morin.  She is a jack of all trades who knows how each aspect of Central Office works and has had a hand in training most of the staff. Megan’s specialties include dealing with federal grants and taking care of RSU 18 employees when it comes to everything from accident forms to maternity leave. She is hard working, loyal, and very dedicated to the district. 

Another Messalonskee grad with children in the district is Kelly Pinney-Michaud, our Accounting Coordinator. Kelly has a can-do and will-do attitude with a strong work ethic and good customer service skills. She helps solve issues and questions concerning budgets and funds and works hard to make sure that all funds we oversee are spent properly and wisely. When she’s not in the office, she can often be found out in our schools coaching or volunteering. 

Cindy McCarthy is one of the newest additions to the central office staff as she came to us this winter from her lead secretary position at MHS. She is another staff member who graduated from the district and raised her children here. As Accounts Payable Specialist she works hand in hand with the schools and departments to make sure they have what they need to educate our students. She’s also the primary contact for the companies we do business with and is the person who helps solve issues with orders and billing. Cindy is extremely organized and works hard to help improve processes to make things go more smoothly in our schools. 

Laura White is, hands down, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable payroll and human resource people in the state. She is very dedicated, accurate, and focused on serving the district’s employees. As payroll administrator, she stays on top of the latest payroll laws and regulations, makes sure people get paid on time and paychecks are correct. She’s amazingly patient and helpful when it comes to answering one-on-one questions about pay and benefits. 

Lisa Wrigley and Gwen Thebarge are the special education dynamic duo. They are both independent workers who are extremely detail oriented and they go above and beyond for our students. Whenever you go into their office, you know that they are genuinely there to help you.   The world of Special Education is flooded with regulations and paperwork. These two talented professionals help us handle the endless work in this department. Their work behind the scenes helps set us up as a district to meet the needs of our students.

Sharon Jolicoeur is the most veteran member of the central office and has worn a number of hats over the years. She’s worked in reception, in the superintendent’s office, the business office and now with the maintenance department. She’s the guru who manages to coordinate the district’s daily maintenance work as well as the bigger projects. Her organization and dedication keep the district standing. 

Helping every student, in every school, every day.  This is our mission. In all of our schools, there are so many people who work tirelessly to make this happen. But there are many others who work just as hard out of the spotlight to bring success to RSU 18. The Central Office staff is without a doubt one of the driving forces in our district. There are few working aspects of the district that do not pass through this team’s capable hands. Without them, truly nothing would function as it should and we are so grateful for the hard work and dedication that they put in every day.  Thank you for all you do.

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