BY - SARAH WHITFIELD, News Contributor, Wiscasset Newspaper
Wed, 12/09/2020 - 4:45pm
Wiscasset Middle High School Head Custodian Jeff Speed will retire Feb. 28 after 46 years with Wiscasset schools, and Speed was celebrated with a surprise during Tuesday’s, Dec. 8, school committee meeting: The upper sports field at WMHS will be named in his honor. Speed took particular pride in the athletic fields and their maintenance, and WMHS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Warren Cossette proposed the following wording on a plaque: “In honor of Jeffrey Speed, who tirelessly maintained these fields for 46 years. Mr. Speed’s meticulous care ensured that decades of students could enjoy the benefits of these wonderfully maintained facilities. From the Wiscasset School Committee, past and present.” The committee approved the naming unanimously.
With his 46 years, Cossette said, “he tied the legendary Eugene Stover in something that we thought would never be done.” Superintendent of Schools Terry Wood said she tried to talk Speed into staying a few more months to beat Stover’s record, but Speed declined. Cossette considers them tied. “They are legends together, one inside and one outside.”
WMHS Principal Chuck Lomonte added, “The kids still love you, 46 years later. I’m definitely going to miss you and it’s been an honor.”
With the holiday break approaching, Wood detailed the planning efforts to hopefully bring back more students in-person in the new year. ““We ’re trying to make sure we find that fine line between being safe and bringing back the kids…how many kids can we bring back to school and safely follow the guidelines.” She also noted, a survey sent out to parents already has 90 responses and of those, 77% are interested in sending their students back to school four days a week in the new year. Currently, 89.7% of students are learning in a hybrid model and 10.3% are fully remote. The survey is available at wiscassetschools.org
Wood also reported on efforts to figure out space issues such as the additional space needed for students to eat lunch, as they are already using the gym and library in addition to the cafeteria at WMHS. Others suggested looking at the Wiscasset Community Center gym and perhaps Scout Hall.
The committee updated seven job descriptions to bring them in line with their respective evaluations.
Maintenance and Transportation Director John Merry expressed concern about his department’s being short staffed. Currently there are two openings with a third coming when Speed retires.
The next meeting is Jan. 12. The format (Zoom or in-person) will be determined later.