5 Questions with Marshwood High’s New Principal
By Ralph Morang firstname.lastname@example.org Aug 25, 2019
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — It’s the end of a casual Friday at the end of a long week, and two dozen sticky notes cover the conference table in Robert Scully’s office at Marshwood High School. Scully is the school’s new principal and has had meetings all week.
Scully, 53, spent 19 years at Souhegan High School in Amherst, New Hampshire, as a teacher, dean of students and principal before being named MHS principal Aug. 14. The former Marshwood principal, Paul Mehlhorn, resigned in July.
Dressed in a blue polo shirt, Scully answered a few questions before heading home Friday and then out again to attend the celebration for the end of band camp.
What drew you to Marshwood?
“It was time to get life and work within five miles of each other,” Scully said. For many years, Scully has lived in York and commuted to Souhegan. “I kept tabs on Marshwood, and I never heard a bad word from (Marshwood) students or teachers. There is a strong sense of community.”
How would you describe your style in interacting with students, parents and teachers?
“I was in the classroom for 21 or 22 years. If style is the understanding of students and connecting with stakeholders, I have a lot of classroom experience. I appreciate the needs of teachers and a deep understanding of what might benefit the school in terms of leadership,” he said.
“Vaping as a national concern has subsided a little; it came fast and furious as an issue. We need to see how to focus on (students’) needs beyond the academic,” Scully said. He said he is recommending Marshwood support the whole student, create a safe environment and address any needs of students. “We need to develop a system, a sense of community.”
What’s the first thing you want to accomplish at Marshwood?
“This is a wonderful district to work in,” Scully said, adding he will work toward cohesiveness. “There is great stuff in place.”
He added he wants to bring everyone involved to the table to do a great job for students.
What are some of your longer-term goals?
“I want to give permission for innovation,” he said. Scully said the tone and mood of Marshwood is wonderful. His wants to identify how the school should be evolving. “To me, this is exciting.” He wants classrooms that are vibrant. “What is undiscovered? We can discover and evolve together, reimagining the learning experience.”
“I have two words, ‘curriculum’ and ‘instruction,’” he said. Curriculum, he said, should be relevant and engaging. Instruction should be inspiring, with trained, experienced teachers in a safe environment. For curriculum, Scully said, “Let’s make it pop!” For teachers he said, “Let’s support you.”
Scully has two more words for SAD 35 and the community, “Thank you.” He said those were his first words after being hired. “It is a really great honor.”
Scully lives in York with his wife, Ellen and two children, Amelia and Liam. As he begins his new job at Marshwood, he is continuing his education, towards an EdS degree.
In his letter to the district, which includes South Berwick and Eliot, SAD 35 Superintendent John Caverly, himself appointed in April, said, “Mr. Scully is known as a visionary and he is focused on creating a student centered learning experience.”
In 2018, Scully was recognized as the New Hampshire School Principal of the Year by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals.
“Mr. Scully will be a critical cog in implementing the community’s vision at Marshwood High School,” Caverly said.