Margaret Haun has been a part of the MAST Academy staff since the school opened in 1991. For years she has been the lead teacher of the Maritime program, and this year Haun has also taken on the responsibilities of the Cambridge program. “I’ve been with [MAST] since the beginning, and so I’m familiar with the lay of land—the educational terrain—of the school,” Haun said.
Initially, the Maritime and the Cambridge programs were meant to be separate entities. The Cambridge program was under the leadership of Dana Ligocki. Neither Ligocki nor Haun was aware that Haun would be the new lead teacher until late last spring, and they weren’t sure of what was next for MAST. The decision was made in an attempt to rid the school of the disunity that had been unintentionally created in the past two years by dividing the school in two.
“We wanted to create a situation where there was more fluid movement between the two sides of the school,” Haun said. Uniting the both programs under the same teacher was the school’s way of bringing everyone together, and creating one school.
“I’m very optimistic about MAST’s future. I think that this marriage is going to work and that it has to. There’s no way that we could have two completely separate programs operating in the same school,” Haun said of the decision.
The Maritime program is expected to stay about the same size, around 500-600 students, while Cambridge will grow, becoming the larger of the two programs, and bringing the school’s population to about 1,875 students.
Class size changes can already been seen in this year’s junior class which, at 175 students, will be MAST’s largest graduating class yet, and the first wave of graduating Cambridge students. This combination will open doors for both Cambridge and Maritime students, and already has with the inclusion of the internship program in the Cambridge curriculum.
“Little by little we’re bringing the two sides of this school together,” Haun said, “That’s the only way to create the cohesive environment you need in a school.”
Last year, Haun had four classes, but this year the number has decreased to only three to make room for her new responsibilities. When asked if she believes the new head position will take away from her number one job as a teacher, Haun said, with a smile, “It’s a dull day when I don’t teach, but I was comfortable with my four classes last year, and I’m comfortable with the three I have this year.”
“Here at MAST Academy we have one vision, and if that vision governs both programs, why not bring them together? I think the main goal here is to put new opportunities in front of students,” Haun said.