A toast to the MDI Regional School System

As this year clicks over into the next, I want to take the opportunity to reflect on the school system that the communities of Mount Desert Island have recently tested and refortified.

The one steady lesson of the past two years is that we may be proud of the educational vision of the schools of this region and should be always grateful for the enormous foundation of community support that sustains it – for that, unquestionably, was the mojo that allowed us to carry the day in almost every political skirmish.

But we must always bear in mind that the root of this mojo is not
merely the enduring granitic singularity of Mount Desert Island or even the fortuitous anomaly of its resultant tax base.

Every aspect of excellence in our schools has been an incremental
result of progressive individual imagination. And, as interim custodians, we singularly owe it to our students, our teachers, our parents, and our administrators to foster this culture which supports not only its maintenance but also steady inquiry towards improvement.

For two years we have successfully defended the things that we do well in our schools and, in fact, revitalized each individual communities' commitment to them. In this, we have formalized a framework in which each school community largely retains its autonomy and no individual school can be coerced to sacrifice its own interests merely through the caprices of the school system's majority.

However, I hope that the same constitutional bedrock which immobilizes coercion will now free us to engage even more cooperatively as a coherent school system than might otherwise have been possible and carry us towards new areas of mutual benefit.

Towards that progressive effort, I hope this new year and each
subsequent one represents a renewed commitment on all our parts. Too often we understand ourselves to be mucked in by the obligations of routine and the bluster of minutia. So, happily, it seems appropriate to mark this moment – the launching of a new school system -- figuratively with a busted bottle of champagne, a deep lungful of fresh air, and an eye toward the opportunities.

I am honored by your confidence in electing me to serve as our
regional system's chair as this time. In that capacity I intend to follow only two guiding principles. As this board will allow, I want to keep only the lightest touch on the tiller. And, at the same time, I want always to offer every one of us the open challenge of bringing forward that steady middle-distance vision.

Let's see where that can take us ahead.

Best wishes to all for 2009,

Brian Hubbell, Chair
Mount Desert Island Regional School System