BUXTON — Frank Sherburne, the superintendent of School Administrative District 6, came under fire from residents who attended a school board meeting Monday night and called on the directors to address their concerns about his leadership of the district.

Some of the 40 people who attended wanted the board to remove Sherburne, while Vada Boulette of Standish, president of the Bonny Eagle Football Boosters, presented a petition carrying 113 signatures urging the directors to consider ending his contract over concerns that he broke the district’s nepotism policy when he hired his son. Questions about Zachariah Sherburne’s employment with SAD 6 arose after he was charged in March with sexually assaulting a student in another district where he worked.

Jennifer Connors, a parent of two Bonny Eagle High School students, asked to speak about Sherburne’s employment, but Chairwoman Rebecca Bowley said personnel matters are not discussed in public.

“We are citizens. It is our children,” Connors said.

Bowley said the board has formed a committee to review the situation and expects to receive its findings this week.

“The board is working very hard with legal counsel to make sure we have all the facts,” she said, but it cannot discuss specific employees in public. She said the board is taking the matter “very seriously.”

A crowd turned out for Monday night's meeting of the SAD 6 school board. A petition presented to the board calls for it to consider ending Superintendent Frank Sherburne’s contract.

A crowd turned out for Monday night’s meeting of the SAD 6 school board. A petition presented to the board calls for it to consider ending Superintendent Frank Sherburne’s contract. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

After the board adjourned to meet privately, Connors said there are “a lot of concerned parents out there” who believe that Frank Sherburne should be on administrative leave. “This board just turns their head,” she said.

At a meeting on April 20, the board issued a statement saying it would seek “a prompt resolution” to concerns about the allegations against Zachariah Sherburne, 23, of Porter, and whether his employment violated the district’s nepotism policy.

SAD 6 hired Sherburne, the son of the superintendent, on Feb. 8 as an educational technician at Buxton Center Elementary School.

The district’s nepotism policy says: “It is the policy of the SAD 6 board not to employ any person who is a member of the family of a board member or the superintendent.”

Frank Sherburne was at the meeting, but did not acknowledge or respond to the comments made about him.

When approached during a break, he cut off a reporter’s question and said, “I don’t speak to the media.”

When the reporter asked board member Todd Delaney to see the petition that was given to him as chairman of the board’s Negotiations Committee, Sherburne told him not to, saying it’s the district’s property and would be made available only through a Freedom of Access request. Delaney acquiesced.

A closed-door board meeting to evaluate the superintendent is scheduled for May 23. According to the district’s policy, an annual evaluation of the superintendent is done in May.

Randy Breault of Buxton, who has a child in fifth grade, doesn’t believe that the board is taking the situation seriously enough.

SAD 6 Superintendent Frank Sherburne speaks during Monday night's school board meeting.

SAD 6 Superintendent Frank Sherburne speaks during Monday night’s school board meeting. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“The public comments by the board have not met my expectations,” he said Monday night. “I don’t believe (Frank Sherburne) should be working in education.”

Chris Day, a parent of two high school students, agreed that the superintendent “needs to be removed,” he said.

Getting away with violating a policy is “not setting a good standard for all the kids,” he said.

Many of the people who attended the meeting were parents hoping to express their concerns about the superintendent and the board’s response to his violation of the nepotism policy. There was no public comment period and most didn’t get a chance to address the board, as they would have had to sign up before the meeting to speak on a specific agenda item.

That included a student who said he was attending the meeting to voice his support for Sherburne.

“He’s been the most dedicated educator I’ve ever met,” said Trevor Hustus, a junior from Hollis. “He cares about students.”

Daniel Shirnin, a junior from Standish who serves as the board’s student representative, believes Sherburne has shouldered too much of the blame for his son being hired.

Board member Daniel Kasprzyk brought up the district’s nepotism policy Monday in the board’s discussion of approving contract renewals.

Bowley said there are many employees in the district who are related to other employees and that the policy is being reviewed.

“We will have a meeting about nepotism, I am sure,” she said.

Zachariah Sherburne was arrested March 15 on charges of gross sexual assault, a felony, and sexual abuse of a minor, a misdemeanor.

According to an arrest affidavit, Zachariah Sherburne engaged in “a sexual act” on Feb. 12 with a 16-year-old girl who was a student at Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram, in SAD 55, where he was employed as an ed tech. According to the affidavit, the teen is pregnant and says Zachariah Sherburne is the father.

His last day of work in SAD 6 was March 11, the day he turned himself in to the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office. School officials haven’t said whether he quit or was fired.

The sheriff’s department said Zachariah Sherburne was drinking alcohol when he had sex with the teenager at the Kezar Falls Fire Department, where he is an EMT.

He was released on $500 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled in June.