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Support Given For Keeping WCS Teacher

A recommendation to not grant tenure to a teacher at Memorial Park School has been countered with a large wave of support from colleagues, students and parents.


About 50 people attended last week’s Waterville Board of Education meeting, with many of them speaking in support of keeping sixth grade teacher Meral Dahlin.


She has taught at MPS for seven years and according to people at the meeting was told recently by administrators she would not be given tenure.


The final decision is made by the Board of Education.


The public outpouring came on a busy night for the Board of Education, which included deciding to take on the Pre-K program in house, looking at phasing out the Mandarin Chinese program, a review of the 2024-25 budget and more thoughts on the recommended changes in grading.


Although tenure decisions are usually made after four years of teaching, Dahlin’s came later because she spent the first three years teaching Special Education at the school. When four years ago she moved to teaching sixth grade it restarted the tenure clock.


A majority of MPS teachers attended, many wearing black T-shirts with ‘We Are Family’ on them.


With not enough chairs, many people stood in the room and out in the hall.


Dahlin attended the meeting but did not talk during the public portion.


Board President Dan Nichols adjusted the agenda to allow people to comment about 30 minutes into the meeting rather than wait until the end.


Parent Jo-Anne Humphreys said she has been blown away by the dedication Dahlin shows to students without exception.


“She practices kindness and a love of learning,’’ she said. “Mrs. Dahlin is a role model.’’


One mom of a student in sixth grade said a lot of time is spent teaching about the traits of the Positivity Project.


She cited showing bravery and supporting others in need. “We need to practice what we preach as a community and support people who are struggling,’’ she said.


Another mom of a sixth grader said students at MPS are saying don’t get sick or you’ll lose your job. “Do the right thing,’’ she said.


Peggyann Waldron said Dahlin gets to know her students and encourages relationships in the classroom.


She encourages kids to have fun while learning, Waldron said.


Dahlin’s husband, Matt, spoke, saying she was devastated when she learned she would be let go. “She is one of the most open-minded people,’’ he said. “She’s willing to change.’’


Two students in her class spoke, telling how Dahlin helped them with their grades and how she listens.


Sixth grade teacher Nathan Sentz said Dahlin has become a great colleague.


“She has helped me be a better teacher,’’ he said, often going to Dahlin for advice on students because of her special education training.


Teacher Lori Ann Storey said teachers are in Waterville because “we love your kids.’’


Storey said discussions with Dahlin include bouncing ideas around on how to better help kids.


“She is devoted to making your children better,’’ Storey said, “and that is what we need in this district.’’


Teacher Jeremy Perrone said Dahlin is a good fit at MPS because she cares about students.


MPS teacher Sabrina Denton said Dahlin is an integral part of the team and MPS family.


“Your kids are our kids,’’ she said. “We spent hours on Positivity Project and can’t talk the talk and not walk the walk. This can’t be happening in our district.’’


After 30 minutes no one else spoke and most people left the meeting. As they ...

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The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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