BELFAST— The Regional School Unit 71 Board of Directors hired Jessica Woods as the new assistant principal of Belfast Area High School June 28. She will succeed outgoing Assistant Principal Colden Golann.

Woods was vice chair of the board until she resigned June 21 to accept the assistant principal position. She has spent the last two years as an educational consultant, but since 2006 has worked with families in the district and in area schools in different capacities, including as a school counselor at Islesboro Central School.

Her work has always been about connecting with families and kids, she said, and having two children of her own in the district helps her get to know many of the  students and families. As assistant principal she hopes to support the principal’s mission. She also hopes to help students have a plan for starting their life after graduation, whether that is college, military service or trade school.

“I feel like the bulk of my career I’ve spent connecting with kids and families,” she said. “I have really worked hard to maintain rapport with students … . I know a lot of the kids, I’ve seen them play sports, I’ve seen them as a library volunteer, I’ve taken them to Boston. I know these kiddos and I’ve been working hard as a board member to provide an excellent education for them.” She has bittersweet feelings about leaving the board, on which she spent six years, but is pleased about the new position.

“I think I’m really excited! I certainly have the new job nerves, which is certainly par for the course, but I also feel like I’m coming home in a lot of ways,” she said. “I’ve received a lot of congratulatory notes and email and texts from people who are happy to have me coming back to the building, and that means a lot to me.”

Golann was very popular with students and Woods understands that she could never take his place, but it helps to have his blessing as she takes over the position, she said. Woods and Golann first worked together at Islesboro Central School, he said. She has been a mentor to him for the last six years, and he feels assured knowing she will be replacing him. He has accepted the principal’s position at Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston, where his fiancée teaches.

“It makes me feel really good to know that she is going to be taking my role at the high school, because there is really no one I would trust it to more than her,” Golann said.