TOPSHAM — School Administrative District 75 will start the new school year with an interim principal at Mt. Ararat High School.

The search for a full-time principal will be reopened next spring.

Craig King, who served as principal for nine years, stepped down this year to become superintendent in Regional School Unit 10.

Donna Brunette, who has served as assistant principal at the school, was recently approved by the SAD 75 Board of Directors to serve as the interim principal for the upcoming school year.

“Donna is a talented and dedicated instructional leader who is familiar with the work underway at the high school and in our district,” SAD 75 Superintendent Brad Smith said in an Aug. 9 announcement. “She is familiar with the staff and students.  We are fortunate she has agreed to step up during this important time of transition.”

A search committee identified three finalists for the full-time job, who were interviewed by administrators. While all candidates had significant experiences and strengths, Smith said, they lacked the qualities and characteristics sought by the SAD.

Brunette said Tuesday in an e-mail that she is “extremely pleased” to be the interim principal.

“Being acknowledged for my leadership abilities through this appointment with the support of the School Board and my colleagues is a significant moment in my career,” she said, adding that she accepted the position “with the goal of supporting students, faculty, staff, and members of our community as we transition into a new era” at the school.

Brunette has worked for SAD 75 for 14 years, 12 of them as an assistant principal at the middle school and a year as interim co-principal, and the past two years as an assistant principal at the high school.

The district has been searching for someone to fill Brunette’s assistant position for a year.

Don Gray, the other assistant, is on U.S. Navy deployment until late spring of 2014. Chris Lajoie, who has spent nine years at Woodside – first as a educational technician, then a teacher, and finally as assistant principal and learning strategist – will fill that role during the upcoming school year.

SAD 75 is also in the process of hiring a food service director, and a school resource officer will be added this fall.

Programmatically, the district is working toward a “learning commons” concept, which blends the traditional library with technology, Smith said. Macbook Air computers will also be used by grades seven through 12. The state provides them for seventh and eighth grades, and “we as a district choose to provide them to high school students,” Smith said.

The district continues to include and upgrade safety and emergency planning in its schools, too.

“We’ve added a fairly significant amount of security devices to each of the buildings,” such as security cameras and more limited building access, Smith said, “as well as having each of the schools go through comprehensive emergency planning.”

SAD 75 is also working on a new teacher-principal evaluation system passed by the state, as well as implementation of the Common Core, a state set of educational standards for mathematics and English language arts.

The first day of school, for all grades, is Aug. 28.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sidebar Elements

Donna Brunette, who has been assistant principal at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, will serve as interim principal for the upcoming school year.

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