New Beginnings and a Fond Farewell
“I’m not sure. You should ask Monique Gilbert.”
“Monique has all the information you need on that.”
“Have you checked with Monique?”
She’s the voice that alerts the community to an important message from RSU 18, the person every district employee turns to for information and advice, and she has been the driving force behind much of the daily operations in the RSU 18 Central Office for the last 28 years. As Monique Gilbert prepares to move on to the next chapter in her life, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate her dedication and hard work and reflect on the privilege it has been to work alongside someone of her caliber.
“She is one the most professional and talented people I have ever worked with,” said Superintendent Carl Gartley. “She is an educator, she is a leader, and she has been the backbone of the Central Office for nearly three decades. She has positively affected all of us, and made our jobs and our lives better.”
Monique served as Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and as Office Manager for the Central Office for 26 years before being promoted to the position of Human Resource Coordinator in 2016. During her time in RSU 18, she has worked with 4 superintendents, 59 school board members, and over 600 staff members and 3000 students annually. She issues 1500+ contracts yearly, negotiated by 4 different collective bargaining groups, and somehow keeps everything in order.
“Not only is Monique a truly special professional,” said former MHS Principal Jon Moody, “but she’s a tremendous human being. She has held her position with the utmost poise and character, serving as a support person to all of us who were fortunate enough to work with her over the years.” Moody, who now serves as Assistant Superintendent in RSU 54, worked closely with Monique when he became the summer school administrator in 2005. “Monique was utterly essential to me in my growth as an administrator,” he said. “ She spent countless hours teaching me the nuances of contracts, employment law, timecards, district systems, and even basic human resources 101.”
Former Superintendent Gary Smith took the helm in the middle of the district’s consolidation with China Public Schools in 2009. The logistics of merging the two districts, combined with a tough economic recession, made the job a difficult one to step into. “Time and again, Monique was always there to help and to provide support, guidance, and a historical perspective through some of the very toughest times,” said Smith. “ In all my time working with her, she consistently demonstrated a high degree of skill, flair, and tact,” he added, “and while no one is perfect, I would attest that she is pretty darn close.”
Anyone who has worked with Monique can vouch for her professionalism, her attention to detail, and her amazing ability to give each person her undivided attention. Her quiet confidence and conscientious manner always let you know you were in good hands. “After meeting with Monique, staff members knew they were listened to, that their needs were met, and that things would be dealt with promptly and professionally,” said Smith.
For the Central Office staff, she has been THE “Go-To” person that they turn to for her expertise, knowledge, and advice. “She is the one we all rely on to bring good results to any situation,” said Payroll Administrator Laura White.
“She’s my right hand,” added White. “We have developed a very strong working relationship built on trust, teamwork and mutual respect. She is one of the most dependable, supportive, encouraging and honest people I know. Working side-by-side with her has been an inspiration and a privilege and has made my job more enjoyable and productive. I thank her for being not just a great colleague, but an even better friend.”
Through her years in Central Office, Monique sat in on hundreds of school board meetings and worked closely with several members of the board. Former school board member Elwood Ellis has fond memories of working with her. “Monique always had time for everyone, with a smile, even when she was too busy,” said Ellis. “I found that there was no question she could not answer immediately or would get back to me with the answer within a day.” Former Board Chair Laura Tracy seconded the thought, “She’s the one everyone goes to because she knows all the answers and people know that they can rely on her and trust that things are going to be done the way they need to be without any question,” said Tracy. “Her departure is a huge loss for the district.”
For Monique, her time at RSU 18 has been a labor of love. This is where she raised her family and the RSU 18 staff have become like family to her. Her many contributions to the district over the years have been matched only by her continued growth as a professional. Recently, an opportunity presented itself that will allow Monique do continue doing the work that she loves, and excels at, much closer to her home. She will be taking the position as the Assistant Human Resources Director for the Lewiston Public Schools. Former Superintendent Duke Albanese put it best:“I must say that Lewiston just hired a treasure and RSU 18 lost a real talent.”
We will miss her and we wish her all the best!