The superintendent of the Bonny Eagle schools has twice taken action to quash rumors about him that he heard were circulating within the past year.
Superintendent Frank Sherburne, who began posting his schedule online to allay speculation that he had been placed on administrative leave, acknowledged Monday that he asked the school board this spring to investigate claims that he had been texting students.
The chairwoman of Buxton-based School Administrative District 6’s board of directors confirmed an investigation was conducted and that Sherburne was cleared of any misconduct.
“The board discussed it and decided that Frank was doing his job and it was misconstrued,” Charlotte Dufresne said. She would not go into further detail.
The Portland Press Herald did not receive a response to a request to the district Monday for a report generated from that investigation. Sherburne said he didn’t know if one existed.
Last month, Sherburne sent an email to parents throughout the district announcing that he would start posting his schedule online to put an end to another persistent rumor that he had been placed on administrative leave – an issue that seemed to come up whenever he was out of the district.
The first time the rumor came up, in August, he was on a family vacation when he got a call from a newspaper reporter about his employment status. Last month, he said he was working with state education officials at Thomas College in Waterville when school board members started getting calls from Standish officials about his employment.
“I cannot understand why this rumor began in the first place or why it keeps resurfacing, but it seems to not want to go away,” Sherburne said in the Sept. 26 email to parents. “These types of rumors are a distraction that pull many of us away from our work and this will hopefully put an end to them.”
Sherburne, who was previously superintendent of the Waterboro-based Massabesic school district, replaced Suzanne Lukas in 2011 as the head of SAD 6, which includes Buxton, Hollis, Limington, Standish and Frye Island.
Lukas also took heat while at Bonny Eagle, the third largest district in the state with about 4,000 students.
At Bonny Eagle High School’s 2009 graduation ceremony, Lukas refused to hand a diploma to graduate Justin Denney after he blew a kiss to his mother, bowed on stage and showed the crowd a necklace he was wearing.
The incident became a national news story, with some parents and graduates calling for Lukas’ dismissal. The board stood behind her.
Lukas retired from SAD 6 and was immediately rehired as superintendent of Ellsworth-based Regional School Unit 24.
Dufresne said she’s been pleased with the direction the district has taken under Sherburne’s leadership.
“Maybe there are some people who don’t like the way he’s doing his job, but he’s doing a good job,” she said.
Sherburne also received the backing of the board after another bold move last spring, when he recommended not renewing the contract of Bonny Eagle High School Principal Beth Schultz.
After Schultz waived her right to a confidential hearing, Sherburne publicly told board members that he was not confident in her leadership abilities. The board took Sherburne’s recommendation, but, as Schultz was pursuing an appeal of that decision, she decided instead to resign.
Sherburne said Monday that since he began posting his schedule online, he’s received support from the community.
He has gotten calls from people wondering “why don’t people have more things in their life than worrying where I am,” he said. “They think it’s stupid.”
Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: