St. John Valley

Lavoie takes over at regional high school tech center

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — The St. John Valley Technology Center, which offers career and vocational education for three local school districts, will start the 2017-178 school year under new leadership, following the decision by School Administrative District 33 school board members last month to hire Frenchville native Kevin Lavoie.

Lavoie, who officially started June 29, replaced Dave Morse, who accepted a position at at Lake Region Vocational Center in Naples.

Although Lavoie’s educational background and much of his work experience has been in the healthcare sector, he has been a longtime scholastic sports coach and has been a substitute teacher for SAD 33.

“As I venture into the last years of my working life, I thought, ‘What a wonderful way to do it.,’” Lavoie said on July 10. Although he has 15 years or so before retirement, Lavoie said the switch from the healthcare to education is a good move for him.

“This is a chance to influence the leaders of tomorrow,” Lavoie said of his new post as the center’s director.

Lavoie has one child left in school, his daughter Breanna, who will be a senior in the fall.

Students at the St. John Valley Technology Center in Frenchville regularly place among the top finishers in regional SkillsUSA competitions. (Don Eno)

Prior to accepting the new job, Lavoie most recently was with the human resources department at Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent. Prior to that he was the administrator at Forest Hill nursing home, also in Fort Kent.

For nearly half of the 2008-09 school year, Lavoie was the long term substitute physical education teacher for all grades at MSAD 33. He also was a substitute, on and off in 2010.

Lavoie admitted that a challenge for him in the new job will be familiarizing himself with the ins and outs of the educational system. In the broader context, though, he sees the current climate in local education as a chance to make an impact and find “the opportunities in the Valley for education.”

The efforts of the Tri-District collaboration are leading toward changes, including to vocational education, he said.

“The tech center already works with all the students from those districts,” Lavoie said. “I’ll be right in the mix.”

Lavoie also recently was named the Wisdom Middle/High School girls’ soccer coach. His son, Brandon, who coached the team last year, will be an assistant coach.

“This job allows me the flexibility to do it,” he said. “With my daughter playing her last year, it will be special.”

SAD 33 has administrative oversight of the regional technology center, and Lavoie works directly for the district’s superintendent. The other two school districts, SAD 27 and the Madawaska School District, pay a per student fee to take part.

The tech center offers programs in computer technology, health occupation, welding, automotive trades, construction and early childhood development.

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