Andrea Lovell, new special education director for Wiscasset schools
Andrea Lovell is the new special education director for the Wiscasset school system. Lovell previously served as the program director for the Sheepscot Regional Education Program, a grade 7-12 regional, special education, behavior program on the Wiscasset School Department campus. The program educates students who struggle socially, emotionally and behaviorally. She left the job in November 2021.
While working for the Sheepscot Regional Education Program, she was also working on the farm where she and her husband raise Nigerian dwarf goats and chickens. The couple created Harmony Lane Farm after buying 105 acres in Warren to expand their dairy farm. Feeling that working at both jobs was too much and looking to try something new, Lovell left the program director job and dedicated her time completely to the farm. She indulged in one of her “passions,” baking pastries using the milk, eggs and yogurt from the farm and having the items be sold in their farm store. When her current job became available, she decided to come back to education realizing that education and working with people with disabilities was also a passion. She was already familiar with many of the teachers and the leadership team due to her time with the Sheepscot Regional Education Program so she felt the job would be “a good fit ... It seemed like a great opportunity to come back.”
Lovell attended University of Maine in Orono and Augusta receiving her undergraduate degree in English and her master’s in special education. She completed graduate work to earn her certification in educational leadership. She continues to take classes through Orono, Endicott College and others, focusing on educational leadership, special education and people with disabilities.
Lovell realized she wanted to become an educator while working as a substitute teacher after finishing her undergraduate degree. She was working with students without having had any formal coursework in education. She felt she was very successful with students who had difficulty learning or behavioral issues. That led her to pursue her master’s degree in special education. While she was working on her master’s degree, her son was diagnosed with a less common disability. This increased her incentive to learn more about students with disabilities. Her focus changed from children at risk and common disabilities to behavior and low-incidence disabilities.
As special education director, Lovell supports teachers in their work to meet students’ needs. She is fiscally responsible and works with other administrators to budget the needed resources. She feels it is Wiscasset’s focus to work as a team to support all students. It is her job to make sure teachers have the tools, direction and resources to support students in their learning. She is also responsible for knowing the regulations and laws surrounding special education and any changes there. She is responsible for sharing that information with her team. She also facilitates training with staff. She attends individual education plan meetings to designate and approve services.
Lovell enjoys visiting classrooms in both the Elementary and the Middle High School. She said it is one of the best parts of her job. It gives her a feel for what’s happening and helps her see where there are areas of need. One of her goals is to get to know all of the students better.
In her free time, Lovell continues to enjoy working on her farm and baking when she’s not researching learning, one of her other hobbies. She enjoys spending time with her family and the goats at Harmony Lane Farm which one of her sons manages. She also loves spending time with her dalmatian, walking, playing and sharing graham crackers. The farm store is open on special occasions and Lovell’s homemade baked goods can be bought there.
When asked about the future, Lovell said, “One thing that I’m really trying to focus on as a new director is bringing all the talent together.” She is hoping to create a bank of resources online to provide support for parents especially of children with exceptional needs.