New WHS staffer gives back
Growing up in Pittston, Sarah Ricker and her siblings used to go to Wiscasset Raceway with their father; Ricker also used to play along the Wiscasset waterfront and imagine the pasts of the schooners Hesper and Luther Little, still sitting along the Sheepscot River then.
She would wonder if the two ships might date back to Biblical times; then her mother would ask her if that made sense, Ricker recalled with a smile.
Now a married mother of two boys, Ricker, 35, is back living in Pittston and coming to Wiscasset for a new reason: She's the new athletic director and assistant principal at Wiscasset High School.
“I love this area, and after college I said I wanted to move back and give back to the community that raised me,” said Ricker, who has a bachelor's degree in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic and a master's in educational leadership from the University of Maine at Farmington.
“Wiscasset is such a go-to community, everybody just rallies together, and I'm a go-to kind of person,” she said.
Ricker arrives at Wiscasset High from Auburn's Edward Little High School. Her experience coordinating that school's “aspirations” program, where she was a go-between for parents and the school, should help her here, she said.
Teens make mistakes as they move toward adulthood, she said. She tries to convey to them that that's OK, but to learn from those mistakes so they don't repeat them after high school.
The half-time position she's taking is in its latest of a number of incarnations. Until two years ago, the assistant principal and athletic director were together, but as a full-time position. Then they were separated into a half-time assistant principal and a half-time athletic director's job that was coupled with a half-time physical education teacher's job, Principal Deb Taylor said.
Handling both the assistant principal and athletic director duties within a single, half-time position will take an organized schedule, determined monthly based on the sports schedule, Ricker said.
“I'm one of those people who likes to see kids and teachers consistently, because every day is different, and situations can change,” she said. “We'll make it work,” she said of her work schedule.
Taylor said she is delighted to have Ricker join the staff. Ricker's service on a visiting team for the school's re-accreditation has given her a solid knowledge of the school and community, Taylor said.
“She also has an extensive amount of experience working to engage students in their education and to overcome obstacles to their success. Her experience is a good match with our school efforts in ... raising aspirations and in dropout prevention.”
Ricker's exemplary organizational and community-building skills will help support coaches and sports programs, Taylor added.
Ricker has already met the fall sports coaches. “They're fabulous,” said Ricker, who played field hockey, basketball, track and field, and lacrosse at Gardiner Area High School.
These days, she enjoys a host of outdoor activities, from kayaking, camping and hiking to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
This will be her first time working as a school's athletic director, but Ricker is confident she has the right stuff: “It's a position where, as long as you're organized and have a sense of pride in your school, that can go a long way,” she said.
Susan Johns can be reached at 207-844-4633 or firstname.lastname@example.org