SOUTH PORTLAND – A week after the surprise resignation of Dean Auriemma as principal at Scarborough High School, word came Thursday via a school board agenda that South Portland High School also had lost its administrative leader. On Friday, Superintendent Suzanne Godin said via email that she had accepted the resignation of James Holland effective June 30.

“We appreciate the contributions he’s made to South Portland High School during his two years and wish him well in his future endeavors,” she wrote, adding that the search for a new principal will begin “by the end of the month.”

Holland was hired to lead South Portland High School in August 2011. At the time, he had logged one year as a high school principal, in Livermore Falls. Prior to that he was a science teacher at Cony High School in Augusta from 1986-2004, then assistant principal there from 2005-2010.

Holland replaced Jeanne Crocker, who spent 13 years at the helm of South Portland High School. She resigned in May 2011 to become assistant executive director at the Maine Principal’s Association.

Holland’s resignation was tied publicly at least to a desire to spend more time with his family, but there may be more to Holland’s resignation than meets the eye. At Monday’s school board meeting, SPHS office manager Sheryl Kieran implied Holland was asked to resign, saying his “sudden and disturbing” decision to move on, “doesn’t add up.”

“There’s never been a hint that Jim was anything less than thrilled to be principal of South Portland High,” wrote Kieran, in a statement to the school board. “I don’t know what’s behind this action, but I have a very hard time believing that there’s been a critical mass of accumulated performance negatives that Jim somehow should be encouraged to resign.”

Noting that Holland is “not a self-promoter” despite his “sincerity, decency and commitment to what’s best for our students,” Kieran pleaded with the school board to reject Holland’s resignation.

Holland could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Godin did not reply to an email requesting comment before deadline.

James ?Holland

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