October 22, 2013

Bonny Eagle superintendent tries to put end to rumors

Frank Sherburne asked for an investigation and posted his schedule online to stop the speculation.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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.

Frank Sherburne asked for an investigation and posted his schedule online to stop the speculation.

Photo from MSAD 6 website

Sherburne's Letter to Parents

From: MSAD #6

Date: Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Subject: Message from the MSAD 6 Superintendent of Schools

To: HSMITH@bonnyeagle.org


Good evening,

It has been brought to my attention once again that a rumor regarding my being placed “on leave” has been circling in the district this week. Today, school board members were contacted by the Standish town clerk and town manager with questions about why I was “placed on leave” Monday and Tuesday. On these two days, I was at Thomas College working with DOE and Maine Cohort for Customized Learning (MCCL) on performance based assessments at the request of Deputy Commissioner, Don Siviski. The Board was made aware that I would be out of district on these days at the last School Board of Directors Meeting.


The first time this rumor circulated, I was on my annual family vacation the first week in August and was pulled away from my family for almost half a day to deal with media wanting to print this false story because someone had contacted them. Because this rumor has occurred three times since August and seems to want to resurface each time I am out of the district, I will be posting my calendar in brief weekly on the district’s website. This weekly schedule will be sent to all town halls and to John Balentine, the editor of the Lakes Region Weekly. If anyone has questions about where I am during the week, please contact Hedy Smith at 929-2331 and she can address questions about where to find me.


Although this might seem unusual, it is time to be proactive about this issue and hit it head on. 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. Hopefully by posting my schedule, the rumors and speculation about where I am will end and we (board members, Hedy, and I) can focus on the work that is our primary concern, our students. 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.


Frank Sherburne

Superintendent of Schools

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:


Twitter: @lesliebridgers

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