KENNEBUNK — Andrew Dolloff may be resigning his post as superintendent of Regional School Unit 21, but in the final few months of his tenure, there’ll still be plenty of work to do.

The most important item on his list: crafting a proposal to rehabilitate some of the district’s ailing schools. After months of debate about the impact to taxpayers, voters in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel took to the polls last month to overwhelmingly reject a plan that would have dramatically renovated Kennebunk High School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School and the Mildred L. Day School in Arundel.

At various school board and selectmen’s meetings, members of the public expressed concern that some residents would simply be unable to afford the tax increases such a proposal would have heralded. This time, as Dolloff works with the school board and other officials to mold a more palatable plan, his priority is to arrange for the public to have greater input in the process, with the hopes of presenting the issue before them in November.

“We’ve got to make sure our infrastructure holds up over the next few years,” said Dolloff on Monday. “There was a pretty clear directive from the voters, so we’re seeking public input every step of the way.”

The issue will be one of the last that Dolloff will tackle as head of the school district. He’ll officially step down on June 30, and on July 1, he will take over as superintendent of the Yarmouth School Department.

Dolloff cited personal reasons for his decision to move on, as well as a return to his roots, as his family is originally from the Yarmouth area.

“It’s a high-quality district,” he said of Yarmouth. “There aren’t a lot of districts that I would leave this district for.”

Kennebunk High School Principal Susan Cressey said Monday that the RSU will have some big shoes to fill over the coming months.

“It’s a great loss to the district,” said Cressey. “He’s a great leader, and he was always very supportive. He’ll be difficult to replace. Yarmouth’s gain is our loss.”

Dr. Kevin Crowley, principal of Mildred L. Day School, praised Dolloff for his inclusiveness. The RSU was a newly formed entity when Dolloff took the reigns, during which time the Arundel elementary school was brought into the fold with the Kennebunks for the first time. Over the past five years, said Crowley, Dolloff has made it a priority to make sure that M.L. Day felt like an integral part of the district.

“What Andrew brought to the table was a unique set of skills,” said Crowley. “He had a great sense of finances, which not every superintendent has. But he’s also an educator. He understands how children learn. I’d rank him as one of the best I’ve worked with.

“Replacing Andy’s not going to be easy,” he said.

While deflecting acknowledgment of any personal accomplishments, Dolloff said one of the main achievements of the RSU as a whole during his tenure was the forging of its identity. School consolidation brought various towns and schools together, and over that time, the district has learned to function as a cohesive entity, he said.

All that aside, what he’ll miss the most, he said, are the educators and staff with whom he’s grown close.

“There are just some wonderful people I’ve met throughout the years,” he said. “It’s certainly hard to say goodbye.”

— Staff Writer Jeff Lagasse can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 319 or [email protected]

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