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Madawaska Elementary School welcomes new principal

MADAWASKA, Maine — Madawaska School Department has hired Christian Arnold as the new principal of Madawaska Elementary School. 

The interview committee was unanimous in their recommendation of Arnold, 39, to fill the position, according to Superintendent Ben Sirois. 

Arnold replaces former principal Lise Pelletier, who moved to the role of director of student services on July 1. Madawaska Elementary has about 210 students enrolled in pre-K through grade 6.

“The interview committee was most impressed with how Christian presented herself with confidence during the interview process and felt that she had a great deal of understanding around the importance of educating the whole child, providing positive behavior interventions and supports, and connecting the community with the school,” Sirois wrote in a July 8 blog post.

Arnold grew up in Indiana and most recently served as an educator and administrative assistant at Charlotte Elementary School in Charlotte, Maine. 

“It was in Indiana where my foundation was built, but in Maine where my focus resides,” Arnold wrote in a cover letter she submitted to the Madawaska School Department. 

“We are very excited to have Ms. Arnold on the Madawaska School Department team,” Sirois said in an email to St. John Valley Times. “Although we are just getting started as colleagues, those who we have reached out to for references have stated that Christian is an intelligent, organized, and detail-oriented individual who leads with optimism. We are encouraged by her ideas on the importance of curriculum, social/emotional learning, behavior management, and community engagement.” 

Arnold said her primary goal as MES principal “is to ensure each system is able to run smoothly and efficiently so that as a whole, our school can thrive.”

“In essence, from the time each student and each staff member enters the grounds, I want to make sure they are provided with the support they need to be successful,” Arnold said. 

Arnold earned a master’s degree in education leadership and administration from Bethel College in Indiana in 2021, where she achieved a 4.0 GPA.

She conducted her administrative internship at Calais Middle/High School.

Prior to moving to Maine, Christian Arnold and her husband Jebb Arnold owned and operated Jebb Auto Parts, a chain of five NAPA auto parts stores in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. 

Christian Arnold has also been the proprietor of a natural food store and founding member of a farmer’s market. 

She has served as a cross country and track coach and was Maine State Director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, among other notable accomplishments. 

Arnold spent time in the St. John Valley prior to applying for the MES principal position, and said she and her husband “absolutely love the landscape, culture and outdoor opportunities.”

While exploring the area, Christian Arnold said she took time to learn more about MES, both online and while visiting with local residents.  

“The school’s online presence is impressive; the school presents itself as professional, innovative and supportive of the people and systems that make it the school it is. The school’s vision, mission and values align with my own. It is the school I have been looking for,” Arnold said.     

During her free time, Christian Arnold enjoys being active in nature by running, hiking, canoeing and gardening. She also enjoys writing, reading and pursuing creative interests, she said. The Arnolds share two Vizsla dogs named Ritz and Emme and an old retriever/lab mix named Cole. 

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