DEER ISLE — A longtime educator has been hired as the new assistant principal for both Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School and Deer Isle-Stonington High School.
Union 76 Superintendent Christian Elkington said the board voted to hire John Dow of Camden. The board met July 11.
“He was a unanimous choice of the interview committee,” Elkington said. Dow will be paid $67,000 a year and will handle discipline at both schools.
Dow most recently worked at a private school in Houston, but most of his nearly 20-year education career has been in Maine.
The Pittsfield native taught for 10 years in the Camden-Rockport Middle School. He also was assistant principal and residential life director at Lee Academy.
During a phone interview Tuesday, Dow said, “I really can’t be more excited.”
He starts working next week.
“I love it,” Dow said of the education field. “I feel I’ve been drawn to it. Even when I was a young man in college I was working with kids.”
Dow’s mother and grandmother were teachers. His grandfather was headmaster of Foxcroft Academy for 30 years.
Deer Isle-Stonington school officials as well as community members have cited behavioral issues as a problem at both the grade school and the high school.
Dow explained his philosophy for disciplining children.
“I work out of a model they call restorative justice,” Dow said. “I’m not there to be a whip-cracker. I’m there to correct the behavior.”
That starts with talking to a student who has misbehaved and asking a series of questions. They include “What happened?” and “Who did you harm in this?” Dow said. “They have to come up with it.”
Once the student understands who was harmed, whether one student or a teacher or a group of students or society at large, Dow asks the child how he or she is going to fix it.
The student will have school consequences, but Dow will want to know what the student plans to do to “make it right” with the injured party.
“It’s actually a teachable moment,” Dow said. “Every interaction with a kid, if you’re good at what you do, is a teachable moment.”
Dow plans to reside on the island part time but will maintain his home in Camden.