BATH — Morse High School Vice Principal Jay Lemont always knew that teaching was his true calling.

Right out of college, he became a teacher in Falmouth, where he taught for six years. Unfortunately, the teaching profession didn’t have a lot of openings at the time, and he had to move on.

“At the time I left, 1979, there just weren’t any teaching jobs available,” said Lemont.

Instead, he took a job managing a McDonald’s, while keeping his certificate in place. After four years there, he got an opportunity to work at Bath Iron Works and took it. Then, he got into the apprenticeship program, once again teaching classes.

Roughly 12 years later, Lemont was part of a layoff of 2,000 people.

“I was one of the first group to go, but I had my teaching certificate in my back pocket,” he said.

As luck would have it, Morse High School was hiring a teacher right at the same time as he was laid off. Lemont applied, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Someone upstairs had been looking out for me!” he said.

He started as a math teacher at Morse, but moved on to being an administrator after getting a taste for it while subbing in.

“The way things were done at the time, if an administrator was going to be out for a day or two, they asked someone from the staff to fill in,” said Lemont. “That’s where I got the taste for administration. I got kind of hooked on it.”

Lemont took classes to get his certifications, interviewed whenever there was an opening, and eventually got the job in 2002. He’s been the assistant principal ever since.

“It’s different from being a teacher, the issues and things you have to deal with on a daily basis are a lot different,” said Lemont.

As many of us will recall, the assistant principal tends to be the face of administration to kids, especially those with a tendency to be a bit … loose with the rules.

“The kids that I see aren’t the top ten students, it’s the kids who are in trouble,” he said. “It’s my job to help them get through the day, get through the week. Just try to help them get through graduation.”

Lemont said he finds working with kids that struggle with the rulebook rewarding.

“People have told me I just have a knack for working with kids who are troubled,” said Lemont. “I just found it rewarding.”

Typically, after graduating, former students that were in his office frequently will often come back to him years later to thank him.

One young fellow apologized and said ‘I’m sorry I was such a jerk to you in high school,’” said Lemont. “I had another kid come up and say ‘if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.’ That’s what it’s all about, it’s helping the kids in my roll as assistant principal.”

As for his plans after retirement, Lemont’s strategy is to take it easy for a bit.

“In talking with my retired friends, one of the pieces of advice I hear is, for the first few months, don’t do anything,” he said. “You’ll be surprised what comes your way after that.”