Joshua Toothaker, former dean of students at Searsport District Middle and High School, has been hired as the new middle/high school principal.

According to an email from Regional School Unit 20 Superintendent Chris Downing, the decision was made Aug. 20.

Toothaker said in his former position as dean, he provided students with support and also discipline, similar to an assistant principal role.

Moving forward, the district is set to reinvent what school looks like because of the coronavirus pandemic requiring a "hard reset," he said. "How do we do things differently?" he asked, so as to not be "stuck in the old paradigm."

Because of the small size of the Searsport school, Toothaker envisions tailoring education to meet the students' needs. He said he is not coming in with an agenda, but rather would like to continue the work that has been done and is interested in building support systems for students.

Using the multi-tiered system of supports to assist educators in providing academic and behavioral strategies for pupils with various needs, Toothaker hopes to ensure that every student is successful.

In an email to The Republican Journal, former Principal Marianne DeRaps said she has moved to Maryland, where she will be getting married in October and teaching in the Anne Arundel County public school system in Annapolis.

DeRaps said she will be teaching sixth grade math and is looking forward to the start of the school year, as "I have missed the classroom terribly."

"Further, being a teacher will afford me the vacation time I will need to stay connected with my three grown children and two grandsons in Maine.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with the staff and community of Searsport," she said. "I will thoroughly miss the students."

DeRaps, who had been principal since 2016, said she fully endorses Toothaker in his new position, as he has been preparing for the job for quite some time.

"I know he is ready for the challenge — he will be a great principal," DeRaps said. "The students really like him, he lives in the community, and he has much pride for the school."