MSAD 15 Pre-K Program

MSAD 15’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program

MSAD 15 currently offers a voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program for students living in Gray or New Gloucester who will be four years old on October 15, 2024.  Pre-Kindergarten is a half-day (2.5 hour) program that runs the duration of the regular school year. The program has 90 spaces available annually.

If you are interested in applying to be considered for the MSAD 15 Pre-Kindergarten program, you can do so online below. Or you may call the school office for more information at (207) 657-5050.

In the meantime, you may want to start putting together the documents listed below, as they are all required for any student entering the school system.

  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of Residency
  • Immunization (copy)
  • Any legal guardianship, custody, or other documentation

For more information call Jean Southard at 207-657-5050(7:30AM-4:00PM) or email

The goal of this program is to provide high quality preschool services to student populations who are currently not served, under-served or identified by Child Development Services as needing early intervention in Gray and New Gloucester.

Classes are 2.5 hours each day, with morning and afternoon sessions, five days a week. Children are assigned to either A.M. or P.M. slots based on their home addresses. Those attending the morning session are offered breakfast and children in the afternoon are offered lunch. All meals are served in the classroom.

“Graduates” go on to populate kindergarten classes at both Memorial and Russell Schools.

One of the most reliable predictors of a child’s success or failure in school is the level of vocabulary he or she brings to kindergarten.  Until third grade, children are learning to read.  After third grade, they are reading in order to learn.  This underlines the importance of pre-kindergarten education, and exactly why MSAD 15 initiated its Pre-K program in 2011.

More About the Pre-K Program at MSAD15

As the District has demonstrated with in its concerted moves toward proficiency-based standards, and implementation of the International Baccalaureate program at the high school, GNG’s institution of Pre-K programming was, typically, leading-edge and pro-active. After an inaugural year with two concurrent programs — one at the Russell School in Gray, the other at Memorial School in New Gloucester — The GNG program consolidated, and now operates out of the Dunn School in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and Child Development Services (CDS), under the direction of teachers Martha Gill, Melissa Ryan and Victoria Cloutier.

The parents of Pre-K students in both Gray and New Gloucester have heaped praise on the program and the work of our pre-K teachers. And it’s the teachers at Memorial and Russell who best appreciate the results. A recent brainstorming session of Memorial School teachers identified these results, upon assessing the work and behavior of incoming kindergarten students:

  • Better established concepts of print, i.e. meaning and utility of letters/words on a page.
  • More appropriate placements, i.e. better matching of teachers with student academic/behavioral skills.
  • An already established parent/district relationship, which eases anxieties of students and parents.
  • Pre-K kids better understood the routine of school upon arrival at kindergarten: They knew about raising hands, bathroom breaks, circle time, the Code of Cooperation, and other standard operating procedures.
  • Pre-K children were already familiar with bus/playground safety, and many established friendships had already been established, making for an easier transition.

Pre-K Teachers

Thaley Donoghue, graduated from the University of Farmington with a degree in Community Health Education.  After graduation she worked as the Agriculture, Outdoor Classroom and Nutrition Lead Teacher in Tyngsborough, MA.  Upon returning to Maine she received her Early Childhood certificate through the Maine Education Consortium.  From 2017-2020 she worked at the Morse Street School in Freeport.  From 2020–2022 she worked in the Pre-K program at the Durham Community School. Mrs. Donoghue is excited to join the Pre-K team at Dunn School!
  Melissa Kraus(currently taking one year off) , a graduate of MSAD 15, graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education Birth-5 and Early Childhood Education Birth-5. She completed her student teaching under the guidance of Martha Gill in the MSAD 15 Pre-K Program. After graduation, Ms. Kraus joined the Pre-K Program as an Educational Technician in Mrs. Gill’s classroom from Fall 2013 to Spring 2015, when she then accepted a teaching position within the program. Ms. Kraus uses monthly themes that incorporate activities, songs, projects, letters, numbers, field trips, volunteer opportunities, etc. that follow along the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards to prepare students for kindergarten and beyond. Classroom time is a mix of teacher directed and student directed learning and play opportunities.
Victoria Gagne Vicky Gagne is in her eleventh year of teaching, and her fourth year at Dunn School in Pre-K. Prior to teaching in MSAD #15, Vicky taught kindergarten for four years and first grade for three years. She graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She teaches based on monthly themes and incorporates learning experiences through hands-on learning. Each day includes centers, circle time, stories, projects, and interactions with letters, colors, shapes, and numbers based on the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards. Vicky loves being part of the Pre-K program at Dunn and working with MSAD #15’s youngest learners!

Martha Gill
has taught in MSAD #15 for 13 years, 11 years in Pre-K and  2 years of Kindergarten at Memorial School before that. Prior to working in MSAD #15, she had been teaching as a first grade teacher at Paris Elementary School for four years. Martha graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2003 with a B.S. in Early Childhood/K-3 Education. She then attended the University of Maine at Orono, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in literacy. Martha lives in New Gloucester with her husband and three children. Teaching Pre-K is Mrs. Gill’s dream job – She is able to help prepare students academically for Kindergarten and the years to come using a monthly theme curriculum that involves learning numbers, letters, colors, school readiness behaviors and social skills. The curriculum also incorporates family fun nights & opportunities for parents to come into the classroom to show students the important connection between home and school that begins in Pre-K, but is crucial throughout their education at SAD #15. The excitement of Pre-K students about learning is as bright and colorful as the loft you will be greeted by when you walk into her classroom and her goal as a teacher is to show these young learners that their dreams and achievements can reach as high as that loft and even higher if they believe in themselves, always try their best and take advantage of all the opportunities they can at school and in our community.