Alumni Spotlight: Joyce Hatt Fragale, ‘82

The Alumni Spotlight this week shines on Joyce Hatt Fragale of Machias, a 1982 UMM graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing/Small Business Management. Joyce was recently appointed principal of Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School in Machias.


Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:

When I was in elementary school there were two schools, the Campus School and Rose M. Gaffney.  I attended kindergarten at Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School.  However, because I lived on “the other side” of the river I attended the Campus School on the UMM Campus for grades 1-6, returned to RMG to attend grade 7 and then attended grades 8-12 at Machias Memorial High School.

Originally my career began in Retail Management.  After graduation from UMM in 1982 I relocated to Bangor Maine and entered the Wellby Drug Store division of Hannaford Brother’s training program.  Upon completion of this program I became Assistant Manager of the Old Town location, and was then promoted to Manager of the Bangor location.  Following this I was charged with overseeing remodels for Hannaford Brothers, and worked with construction and merchandising crews on the building of several new stores in that area.

The expected arrival of my first child coincided with an opening for a Store Manager back here in Machias.  I relocated and began working here in my hometown in 1986.  The birth of my second child in 1989 caused me to rethink the twelve-hour days associated with retail management.  I began working for the local school system, and worked in several capacities within the Machias system for the past several years.  Most recently I served as “Ventures” (Gifted and Talented) program coordinator for our Local AOS #96, as well as Assistant Principal for RMG.

In 2014 I decided to pursue my Masters Degree in School Leadership, which I received in the spring of 2015.  I am currently employed as Principal of Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School.  I thoroughly enjoy working with an outstanding staff, and supportive parents and community members.  Of course my favorite part of the job is the students.

What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?

The most valuable thing that I learned at UMM is that hard work, dedication, and focus pay off.  While attending UMM I was carrying a full class load, and working nearly full time.  I was often tempted to quit, but having a college graduate in the family was my father’s dream.  He was ill, and I really wanted to fulfill that dream for him.  I often look back with the realization that had I not persevered, many doors that were opened to me would have remained closed.


Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?

It sounds cliché, but seriously, follow your dreams.  You really can do anything that you choose.  A level of intelligence helps but it is more a matter of motivation, and hard work.  Remediate your weaknesses, build on your strengths, develop good interpersonal skills, be of good character: ethical, moral and fair, and take your education seriously.  That should be your focus at this point in your life.  The rest will come.


How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?

The combined business and education background that I received from UMM is a valuable combination in the role of the educational administrator of today.

How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?

For me, having a University that is local allowed me the opportunity to attend.  If I had been required to attend a college away from home, I’m not sure that I would have had the resources that I needed to complete my degree.  Attending UMM gave me the confidence that I needed to pursue further certifications and degrees.