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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 20

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3/13/2013 2:00:00 PM
Lincoln Academy Candidate Supports Transparency
Anne Cass, a head of school candidate for Lincoln Academy. (Kim Fletcher photo)
Anne Cass, a head of school candidate for Lincoln Academy. (Kim Fletcher photo)
By Kim Fletcher


The third of three Lincoln Academy Head of School candidates spent some time informally answering questions posed by an intimate group from the community in school's Dining Commons March 12. Many questions addressed the topical issues of boarding international students and transparency.

Anne Cass, of Portland, shared some of her education philosophies, and her personal administrative history before opening the floor to questions.

A New Hampshire native, Cass first came to Maine when she attended Colby College. Throughout her career, Cass said she has spent time in public and private/boarding day schools in New Hampshire, Vermont, Oregon, Connecticut, and now Maine.

She has experience as principal, growing a small school from 80 to 240 students, and has also worked with private schools as large as 700 students in K-12, that also had 60 boarding, mostly international students as well.

Cass is aware that Lincoln Academy is preparing to begin boarding international students. With her experience, she feels "very comfortable taking that on," she said.

She's taught English as a Second Language, or ESL, with "mostly Pacific rim and Asian students, and I know how they integrate [into an American school] and some of the challenges and blessings of having those students. I think it is an exciting opportunity, and I've met with your admissions director and she knows her stuff on international kids," Cass said.

Many questions posed to Cass addressed the subject of "transparency," and how Cass believes her administration would interact with the community.

She said in her two days visiting Lincoln Academy, "transparency" issues "came up a lot."

Cass said she wonders if what the community is actually seeking is easier and more open communication; that the groups involved with school - the board, administration, faculty, students and parents - consider themselves isolated from each other.

"I believe in being direct and honest, communicating fairly frequently, [through] planned communication like newsletters, meetings with parents, administration and teachers," she said.

To Cass, transparency also means accountability and she views the head of school position as "keep[ing] people accountable to each other, responsible to and for each other. It's asking people to do what they've agreed to do. That means people trusting and respecting each other and it all starts with relationships."

Answering a question, Cass admitted she has "zero" fundraising experience, but she believes fundraising becomes successful through "working with people who know the place and are passionate about the institution; that's three-quarters of the battle. If we meet the needs of all the students and bring a global perspective, I think that makes the message easier to deliver."

If she were offered the position as head of school, she and her husband, Richard Cass, believe they would "live on campus. Part of the job of head of school is presence and getting into the community and meeting as many people as possible."

Making an education observation, Cass said, she would support the school paying as much attention to the "middle students" as the school does to the advanced placement, or AP, and alternative education students.

"I don't know where the emphasis is now, but we have to be careful to not be all in the direction of AP, and the middle [students] don't get much attention," she said.

Addressing the reality that Cass is the only woman candidate for head of school, she said, "I think that as a strong woman in educational administration, I'm aware of being a role model; showing young men and women my style; that how important it is to know oneself; be able to be right, wrong...comfortable in our own skin. I sometimes forget there's a gender difference," she said.



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