WCC Educator Profile: Lewis Collins

Lewis Collins

Washington County Consortium (WCC): Washington County Educator Profile, submitted by Sarah Woog, Executive Director of the WCC.

Meet Lewis Collins, Superintendent of Moosabec CSD and Union 103

Moosabec CSD and Union 103 is a school district in Washington County nestled in the coastal communities of Jonesport and Beal Island. It includes Jonesport-Beals High School, Jonesport Elementary School, and Beals Elementary School. The district is a relatively small district, one familiar to many of us, with generations of pride in its schools, combined classrooms, contract disputes, packed gyms for basketball games, and a part time superintendent. These characteristics represent significant strengths and challenges, and Lewis (Lew) Collins is excited to leverage the strengths of the district to meet the challenges of a small rural district in Maine.

Lew started as Superintendent of Moosabec CSD and Union 103 in July of this year, and shortly began listening to the staff at the schools and community members he signed on to serve. He sees listening as one of the most important things he can do this year, and recognizes that the voice and values of the people in the district will help him determine how to best support them and increase student outcomes. Lew plans to spend much of his time this year “going into schools, getting diverse perspectives, listening to staff and teachers.” So far, he likes what he’s hearing and said the district’s greatest strengths are “first, its kids; and next, its staff, who are completely dedicated to student success.”

Complete dedication to student success has been a hallmark of Lew’s long career in education. He began his career in Camden, NJ, where he was a teacher at an alternative education school for adjudicated youth. He’s proud of the on-the-job training the school provided, and the work-study with pay opportunities the students were able to take advantage of. The school, and Lew’s work within it, supported students in discovering, defining, and pursuing their own paths to success, paths that took them off the troubled roads they had already traversed, and supported them on a journey toward meaningful and fulfilling lives. 

This theme of supporting students in finding fulfillment and success determined by their own passions and values is one with which many educators in Washington County can relate. This theme is evident in the current work being done to expand Career and Technical Education opportunities, and is pervasive in all of our schools. We all know the lobsterman’s daughter who takes a half day work-study her senior year to work on the boat, or the third-grader who designs a four-wheeler for his lego-engineering project. In fact, in Lew’s own district, students at Beals Elementary learn science by posing hypotheses and designing experiments in their own backyards, working with the Downeast Institute (DEI) to address the green crab problem, or to determine the best conditions under which mussels may thrive.

Lew is continuing his listening tour of his district. It’s important work. He is excited to see how his “understanding of the needs of his district translates into success for kids.” I have a sneaking suspicion he’ll find the needs and values that surface are already familiar to him, are harmonious with his own values and experiences, and provide a rich foundation for inspiring and supporting student success.  And Lew, as you listen to the folks in Washington County you are here to support and serve, I hope one message is loud and clear: Welcome. It’s good to have you.