Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, September 5, 2013
New Union 76 special education director brings enthusiasm, experience
by Jessica Brophy
Owen Logue loves a good challenge, and the challenges facing him as the newly hired Director of Special Services for Union 76. The position includes overseeing special education programs, gifted and talented program and federal Title I programs.
An Orono native, Logue was born deaf and was nonverbal until the age of 6. His parents were fierce advocates for him, he explained in a recent interview, and pushed to have him educated in the public schools, which was unusual for the time.
Over the years, Logue earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in special education and higher education administration. Over the past 30 years, he’s worked as a teacher, a counselor and coordinator for services for students with disabilities, a developer of an associates’ program in special education, a dean of academic services and director of special services for the Mount Desert Island area. Most recently, Logue has worked as director of Northampton School Programs at the Clark School for Hearing and Speech in Northampton, Mass.
Logue is a replacement for Joshua Nichols who held the job of director for about eight months before he was placed on paid leave for the remainder of his contract. Since mid-February, the duties usually performed by the Director of Special Education have been handled by the various school principals.
“The challenge is to alleviate the pressure on the principals having to do multiple tasks,” said Logue. Other challenges include a state audit that comes up every few years planned for later this year, and “trying to reinforce the good work we can do.
“A big challenge is winning the confidence of families,” said Logue. “I want to change the feeling that students aren’t cared about.”
Logue’s approach to working with students is to lead by example and to raise the bar. “I believe in resiliency and inner strength,” said Logue. He said it’s important to be realistic with students.
He used the example of a young blind woman he worked with. “She wanted to go to college but had never taken math courses,” said Logue. “I told her that she must do math.” Logue also helped the student transition to using a seeing-eye dog and becoming more independent. It was important to test her limits, said Logue. “I’m a big believer in embracing challenges and testing the potential of students.”
One of Logue’s mottos is, “You won’t know until you try.”
Logue lives with his wife, a nurse practitioner at College of the Atlantic, in Southwest Harbor.