Driving east from Sharon would put new Sharon School Superintendent Timothy Farmer in Stoughton.
Driving east in his Maine hometown, he'd be in the Atlantic Ocean.
Farmer on Wednesday marks his first first day of school leading a district. Students in grades 1 to 12 start class, with Kindergarten starting Thursday.
Ask Farmer about his hometown of Lubec, Maine, and one gets a geography lesson.
About two hours northeast of Bar Harbor, Lubec is "the easternmost part of the United States. You can't go any further east without jumping into the Atlantic Ocean," he says.
"And there's a small bridge connecting my hometown to a Canadian island."
Farmer is not new to Sharon, having served as its assistant superintendent for curriculum and administration the past three years.
He succeeds , a Sharon High School alumnus who retired this summer after 33 years as a Sharon educator, the last four as superintendent.
"One thing I know that I'm just not going to be able to do is that 33-year history that Dr. Dunham had in the Sharon public schools," Farmer says.
"I was just constantly amazed at sitting at various meetings, or negotiation sessions, when somebody would mention something and Barbara always knew what they were referring to from 15, 20, 25 years ago.
"I realize that I need to make my own way. But I also need to respect the history that occurred prior, and seek out that history when it's appropriate."
At the same time, "some people, I think, are excited about a new perspective," Farmer says.
Farmer is most excited about the Sharon schools starting strategic planning this year.
"We have an opportunity to be reflective and to ask for input from the community about the strengths and weaknesses of the Sharon public schools and where should our focus be over the next five years, for example," he says.
The process should take four to seven months, Farmer says.
"People don't see the end result when the conversation began a year-and-a-half ago," he says.
A consultant will help the district facilitate the process, and community forums are expected, Farmer says.
Aligned with this effort, Farmer says he and new Assistant Superintendent Glenn Brand will do one entry plan into their new roles, work usually done by each individual newcomer.
The work includes conversing with various community members, "all people who have feedback and input that would be helpful to us to understand their perspective on the school system," Farmer says.
By doing one plan, "we're not asking people to commit twice to two different meetings" and "we're moving forward as a team, not as separate individuals in different roles," he says.
"It's very much a listening tour. It's not to go ask questions and then to provide my own feedback," Farmer says.
Farmer's summer schedule took him home to Lubec, where he attended the town's 200th anniversary celebration.
Lubec has 2,000 people, he says.
"In the summer time," Farmer says, "it swells to 5,000 people."
Catch up with Sharon Patch's previous 2011 Back to School stories:
- Meet new
- Former joins Cottage administrative team.
- New will be his birthday.
- Meet new East Assistant Principal .
- East is home for new Principal .
- The Sharon school bus routes are
- Learn about at Heights, as well as East and Cottage.
- Tour the .
- SMS further promoting .
- New is an SMS parent, too.
- See the school calendar and lunch menus here.