MEDIA RELEASE: Education Commissioner Pender Makin Helps Fill Staff Shortages at Readfield Elementary School

Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin helped alleviate some of the pandemic-related staff shortages at Readfield Elementary School today by helping teachers in several classes and working lunch duty.

The heightened transmissibility of Omicron has resulted in reduced staff in schools and increased the strain on educators and school staff across Maine. Readfield Elementary was one of several schools in RSU 38 last week that moved to remote learning due to staff shortages, and schools across the state have been forced to do the same in recent weeks. Makin encouraged Maine residents to become substitutes and volunteer for what schools need to help fill the gap caused by these shortages.

“It was such a joy to be with students and staff at Readfield Elementary today and to be able to lend a helping hand when everyone is stretched so thin,” said Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin. “There’s a tremendous need in our schools right now for parents and members of the community to become substitutes and volunteers so that we can keep schools open and serving the needs of Maine children. We as individuals can make a real difference in this moment and I encourage Mainers to help fill the needs in our schools.”

“In all my years working in education, I’ve never had a Commissioner reach out and do what you are doing,” said Readfield Elementary School Principal Jeff Boston upon greeting Makin. “You know your roots!”

Superintendent Jay Charette was also on hand and has been filling in as high school principal in recent weeks to cover shortages. “Our motto is ‘all hands on deck’,” he said in describing their approach to handling shortages.

While at Readfield, Makin helped students with their math skills in Ms. Gordon’s Math Intervention room, worked with 1st grade students in Miss Tarrio’s class to create glossaries for books they are working on, sat with and helped students in the Readiness Skills Program eat their lunches, and also took the opportunity to play paper, rock, scissors with students while on lunch duty.

Photos from the day are available upon request and will be shared on social media by following @MDOENews.