Chris Record

Gorham High School Principal Chris Record will present seniors to the audience in graduation exercises on Sunday, June 12, for his final time. Record is moving up to the Gorham School Department’s central office as assistant superintendent next month.

“It’s a tough decision,” Record, 43, said Tuesday in his office at the high school. “I’ll miss this job, the school, the people.”

But, Record said, he’s glad to remain part of the Gorham community. Superintendent Heather Perry announced last week in a letter to School Department staff that the School Committee had approved hiring Record as the assistant superintendent. He succeeds Cathy Stankard, who has resigned effective June 30.

“We are excited to have Chris join the central office team and look forward to his contributions to the Gorham schools at this new level,” Perry wrote to School Department staff on May 25.

Record’s salary will be $115,500, Perry told the American Journal, the same figure  budgeted  for the position. Record earned $107,000 as the high school principal.

Record has a fiancee, two children ages 10 and 13, and lives in Scarborough. He recently earned a doctorate degree in public policy with a focus on educational leadership through the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine.

Record began as principal at Gorham High School in July 2008, succeeding John Drisko. 

“I am very appreciative of all of the hard work Chris brought to GHS during his tenure as principal,” School Committee Chairman Darryl Wright said in an email Tuesday.  “Over the time I have been working with him I have seen him grow in the role, and I am very happy that he has decided to take on the role of assistant superintendent.”

Perry said in her letter that Record’s role in central office will differ from that of his predecessors.

“As an assistant superintendent, Chris will be working closely with me to operate all aspects of the Gorham schools, not just in the areas of curriculum,” Perry wrote.

Record’s duties, besides curriculum develoment, will include policy development, facilities planning, oversight of federal programs, human resources, emergency planning, contract negotiations and community relations, Perry said.

Her letter cited Record’s several accomplishments as principal. Under Record’s leadership, the freshman academy model was instituted, aimed to enhance learning. The high school in recent years has added 25 courses, including Mandarin Chinese, and brought back a co-op program.

During his tenure as principal, a University of Southern Maine study commended Gorham High School as one of the state’s best.

“Our goal,” Record said when asked what stands out at Gorham High School, “to improve teaching, increase learning and enchance the climate.”

He praised the quality of the faculty and noted 200 seniors will receive diplomas this year. Record said more than 80 percent of the school’s graduates are annually accepted in colleges, universities or the military.

Gorham graduates compete globally, and “it’s our mission to prepare them,” he said.

Challenges he faced during his eight years as principal included the “growing social and emotional needs of children,” an aging high school building  and a dance craze called grinding that led to his high-profile halting of school dances. With the grinding controversy came calls from news reporters, he said, from Australia, Germany – “all over the world.”

The high school experienced a security scare in December 2012 when it was believed a text message had threatened violence against Gorham High School students. It triggered an investigation and stepped up police patrols, but the threat proved baseless.

He said he’s in charge of safety and security for 1,000 people every day and while principal, he’s lost some hair and gained some weight.

“I thank the Gorham community for their great support, Gorham High School and their support of me as principal,” Record said.

Wright said, “He’s an important member of our team that will lead the district to great things for our students and community.”

The School Department is now seeking Record’s replacement. A finalist for the job is expected to be presented to the School Committee for approval on Wednesday, June 22. Record, who will assume his new role in central office on Friday, July 1, asked the community to support the new principal.

“Go Rams,” Record cheered.

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