The Regional School Unit 71 Board of Directors on May 15 announced Mary Alice McLean has been selected as the next superintendent, effective July 1.

McLean is currently principal of Belfast Area High School. She has been a school administrator in Maine since 1996 and also served five years as an administrator in Massachusetts prior to moving to Maine. She has been a middle school principal, K-2 principal, K-8 principal, and special education administrator.

McLean has four degrees: a BA in English from Smith College; a Master of Education from Framingham State University; a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School; and a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from University of Maine at Orono.

Superintendent Paul Knowles, who signed on with the district in 2015, gave notice in April that he would step down at the end of the school year.

A 14-member Search Committee chaired by Curriculum Coordinator Laura Miller and made up of community members, teachers, administrators, support staff and representatives for the Board of Directors carried out the search.

Caitlin Hills, chairman of the RSU 71 board said, “We are excited to have Mary Alice make the move from leading the high school to leading the district. She will provide a level of continuity and a spirited investment in all of our schools and communities. She can be counted on to advocate for instructional best practices known to most deeply engage and prepare our youth at all levels. We are confident that her leadership and passion for the work will continue to move our school system forward.”

RSU 71 includes Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont, and Swanville.