SOUTH PORTLAND — Ken Kunin, who is a principal of an American school in Rome and a former principal in Portland schools, is the School Board’s pick to become the next superintendent of South Portland’s public schools.

Kunin was chosen from 25 applicants and is on track to be formally appointed by the board, with a vote tentatively scheduled for April 13, Chairman Richard Matthews said Monday.

“Ken was the best fit for our community,” Matthews said.

“He’s a very well-educated, very well-rounded and very knowledgeable man, and he has a very positive attitude toward our community and our schools.”

Kunin was one of seven semifinalists interviewed by the Superintendent Search Committee on Feb. 5, and the only candidate interviewed by the School Board on Feb. 23, Matthews said.

Kunin will spend March 12 in South Portland schools, visiting Skillin Elementary School, Mahoney Middle School and South Portland High School, and meeting with parent groups and appointed and elected city officials.

Kunin would replace Superintendent Suzanne Godin, who announced in November that she will resign in June after eight years in the district’s top position because she wants to return to more classroom-oriented duties.

Kunin is the middle- and high-school-level principal at the American Overseas School of Rome, which serves 600 students from 50 countries. Prior to that, he was a senior research consultant for the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation at the University of Southern Maine.

Kunin’s professional experience spans more than 35 years and includes stints as principal of Deering High and Reiche Community schools, both in Portland. He started his career as a teaching intern at the Walker Home and School, a special education day and residential school in Needham, Massachusetts, where he worked as a teacher and administrator.

Kunin has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Brown University, a master’s degree in special education from Lesley University and a certificate in educational leadership from the University of Southern Maine.

He’s a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the American Association of School Administrators and the European Council of International Schools.

The School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on March 12 in executive session to discuss the search process and establish next steps.


CORRECTION: This story was updated on March 3, 2015, at 1:52 p.m. to clarify details of Kunin’s work history that were provided in a news release.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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