Paula Greatorex: Educator
Before becoming the Isle au Haut’s school teacher, Paula had long been a part of Isle au Haut’s community. She’d become close to one of the island families, and regularly spent weekends and summers here. When the teacher’s position was advertised, she lost no time in applying: The school board lost no time in hiring. For 18 years she had been working at the Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School as a certified Special Education teacher, and therefore had extensive experience teaching multiple grade levels and subjects, and addressing a wide range of learning styles.
Now in her fourth year of teaching at the Isle au Haut school, one of the main challenges Paula has faced has- oddly enough- been the depth of support the community offers. It has long been the school’s mission to ensure that island students have the experiences and social skills necessary to succeed wherever life takes them: it fully supports this mission through appropriations at town meetings, grant money, and private funds raised at the school’s annual Pie Auction. So while IAH is a public school, the town offers a budget that requires Paula to think unusually big when it comes to educational enrichment. In addition to her work as a teacher, she is also the acting principal, coordinating the efforts of a full-time ed tech, and multiple adjunct educators who come in to teach weekly lessons in art, music, and physical education.
Balancing her work as teacher and administrator while negotiating community relations as a year-round resident often seems like a 24/7 occupation: “it’s a big job on a little island.” The biggest reward is being on the island itself. “There are still times when I am watching the kids sled down the back hill by the water, and just have to pinch myself to see if it is real.”