BUXTON — School Administrative District 6 Superintendent Frank Sherburne resigned Monday night, giving in to weeks of pressure from parents calling for his ouster because he had broken the district’s nepotism policy by hiring his son.

“We believe that it is in the best interest of our district, its employees, its students, and the community at large to finally resolve this matter as soon as possible. The severance agreement we have negotiated with the superintendent will avoid a protracted legal battle with the associated legal costs and divisiveness, and will bring closure to this matter and allow the board to turn its attention on to important issues facing our district,” Chairwoman Rebecca Bowley said in a statement after the board voted to accept Sherburne’s resignation.

A handful of parents applauded the board after the vote and called out, “Thank you!”

Amanda Cooper, who last week filed a complaint with the Maine Department of Education last week asking it to investigate the SAD 6 superintendent, waits Monday during a lengthy series of executive sessions by the school board.

Amanda Cooper, who last week filed a complaint with the Maine Department of Education last week asking it to investigate the SAD 6 superintendent, waits Monday during a lengthy series of executive sessions by the school board. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“I think this was the right thing to do,” SAD 6 parent Amanda Cooper said after the meeting.

The vote on Sherburne’s resignation came after 11 p.m. and followed a series of three executive sessions the board held that lasted more than three hours. Sherburne had left the meeting about half an hour before the board voted to accept his resignation. It also voted to give him a $40,000 severance package and appoint assistant superintendent Michael Roy acting superintendent.

In addition to the nepotism issue, the superintendent’s son, Zachariah Sherburne, 23, didn’t have the required state approval to work with students, and he was later charged with the sexual assault of a teenage student from another district where he worked.

Buxton resident Victoria Hugo-Vidal, who had been holding a “Fire Frank” sign during the meeting, was pleased with the decision.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal of Buxton holds a protest sign during a SAD 6 school board meeting Monday. Last week, the board determined that Frank Sherburne had violated the district's nepotism policy by hiring his son for an ed tech position, but the board did not take any action against Sherburne.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal of Buxton holds a protest sign during a SAD 6 school board meeting Monday. Last week, the board determined that Frank Sherburne had violated the district’s nepotism policy by hiring his son for an ed tech position, but the board did not take any action against Sherburne. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“I’m very surprised. I did not think this would happen,” said Hugo-Vidal, who has two siblings in the school district.

Another protester, who would not give his name, held up a sign reading “Municipal Elections June 14.”

A student representative on the board spoke up for the embattled superintendent near the start of the meeting, praising Sherburne for his actions on behalf of students and saying he had been subjected to “much undeserved criticism.”

The board chairwoman had confirmed that at least one of the three executive sessions concerned the superintendent.

Embattled SAD 6 superintendent Frank Sherburne leaves the board room Monday to enter an executive session. Later in the evening, Sherburne submitted his resignation.

Embattled SAD 6 superintendent Frank Sherburne leaves the board room Monday to enter an executive session. Later in the evening, Sherburne submitted his resignation. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Last week the board announced it would not immediately discipline Sherburne despite an investigation that found he violated the district’s nepotism policy.

That led to frustration among parents, who said they haven’t had the chance to address the board, and protesters at most recent meetings, in some cases disrupting the proceedings. One woman was escorted out by police.

Board members said any personnel issue must be handled behind closed doors, and school and board leadership have declined to comment on the situation.

On Monday, the student representative, sophomore Nathan Carlow, spoke in support of Sherburne during his report to the board.

“For many reasons, Mr. Frank Sherburne has received much undeserved criticism,” Carlow said, praising the superintendent for supporting several school programs.

“Your actions promoting student education and the positive well-being of students makes me proud to stand beside you during this time,” he said as about 20 people in the audience clapped.

The board had been scheduled to discuss the superintendent’s annual evaluation at a May 23 special closed-door meeting.

Sherburne was hired by SAD 6 in 2011 to replace Suzanne Lukas, who resigned to become a superintendent in Ellsworth.

Since then, he’s been accused of unfairly pushing out a principal, having inappropriate communications with a student and failing to cancel classes during a snowstorm. Sherburne’s contract was renewed in July 2014 for five more years. His salary this school year is $122,000.