The superintendent of School Administrative District 6, who was criticized for denying diplomas to Bonny Eagle High School graduates at their 2009 graduation ceremony, has taken a job as chief of Ellsworth-based Regional School Unit 24.

Suzanne Lukas said her decision to leave the Buxton-based district “has absolutely nothing to do” with the controversial graduation ceremony.

“This is an opportunity that professionals take all the time. There is nothing more to this than that,” said Lukas, who plans submit her letter of resignation to the SAD 6 Board of Directors at a meeting tonight.

Bonny Eagle High School drew national attention after Lukas denied a diploma to one student who bowed and blew a kiss to the audience and wore a cord necklace that Lukas said was not approved. Another student was escorted out of the ceremony after seniors began bouncing beach balls on stage.

Since then, the district has put in place a committee that includes students, parents, school administrators and school board members that annually discusses expectations for graduation.

Lukas has been superintendent of the district for 7 years, which she called “a long tenure.”

Before being hired there, she was assistant superintendent of Kennebunk schools for 7 years.

Previously, she’s worked as a teacher in Scarborough, a principal in Biddeford and the curriculum director for Sanford schools.

The RSU 24 board voted to hire Lukas at a meeting last week, said Nelia Lake, administrative assistant to the district’s superintendent. Former RSU 24 Superintendent William Webster left the district in December when he became superintendent of Lewiston schools. Wayne Enman, a former superintendent in RSU 24, has filled in during the district’s search for Webster’s replacement.

No timeline has been set for when Lukas will leave SAD 6 or begin working in Ellsworth. Lila Wilkins, chairwoman of the SAD 6 School Board, said officials will discuss the transition plan at meetings tonight and on May 16.