The longtime school superintendent of SAD 51 in Cumberland and North Yarmouth will step down in November, according to the district.

Robert Hasson, who has served as superintendent since 1993, will leave Nov. 1 to become assistant deputy director of the Maine School Management Association, where he will lead the Maine School Superintendents Association.

“This is a good match for me,” Hasson said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do 10 years ago because I didn’t have enough experience. I think I’ll get a lot of satisfaction out of it.”

The school district said the school board will meet next week to discuss appointing an interim leader, and eventually, initiate a search for a permanent replacement.

In his new position, Hasson will be responsible for supporting superintendents around Maine, working specifically with newly appointed superintendents; helping to recruit prospective candidates for superintendent positions; and lobbying lawmakers on education issues.

In a statement announcing the move, SAD 51 school board chairwoman Karen Campbell lauded Hasson for his work improving the quality of education during his 20-year tenure.

“Under Bob’s tutelage the district has emerged as a leader in implementing innovative programs such as all-day kindergarten and the International Baccalaureate Program. We are grateful for all that he has been able to accomplish for the students who live in our two communities.”

During Hasson’s tenure, Greely High School increased its graduation rate to 96.41 percent, the fourth highest in the state, the district said.

He drew criticism earlier this year from some school board members, who took issue with his handling of a security system installed in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The security system cost significantly more than initial public estimates.

One board member eventually resigned over the issue, although Hasson said the tussle had nothing to do with his decision to move on from SAD 51.

“Those are the types of things that face all superintendents and boards. That did not in any way affect this move,” he said.

In the new job, Hasson said he hopes to help educators around the state improve educational opportunities for Maine students. Hasson, who lives in South Portland, said he plans to commute to Augusta.

 

Matt Byrne can be reached at 791-6303, or at

mbyrne@pressherald.com.