Troy Henninger will serve as Brunswick High School’s new principal. DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD

BRUNSWICK

Brunswick High School has a new principal and he plans to be visible.

The school board voted unanimously Wednesday to authorize Superintendent Paul Perzanoski to negotiate a two-year contract with Troy Henninger.

“Every morning when school starts they’ll see this face attached to this body at the door,” he told The Times Record after the school board vote. “It’s important for the kids to know that someone in the school starts the day and if the first person they see is me, I’m absolutely thrilled.”

Henninger was among three final candidates visiting the high school Aug. 6 to interview for the principal position. Staff, students, families and community members were invited to attend the individual sessions throughout the day and ask questions. He was selected from a pool of candidates by a principal search committee.

He comes from Boston where he was headmaster for the Boston Latin Academy, a school of 1,800 students, where he started in 2014. Before that, he served as the assistant principal at Cape Elizabeth High School for nine years. Prior to that job he worked in Osceola County, Fla., for 15 years.

“I’ve been in administration for 18 years and a classroom teacher for 11 years,” he said.

So what draws him to serve as principal of a high school?

“From the teaching standpoint, it’s the developmental thing – meeting the ninth grader, seeing the metamorphosis that takes place, and then the graduation and seeing how they do after that.”

He likes to see that the education program is working well so that the entire student is finding success.

“The energy of being in high school, after all these years, it’s still fun,” he said. “I still have a good time. Cafeteria duty is still fun.”

He loved Boston and could have stayed working there, the 51-year-old said. Many other positions were available in Maine too. He didn’t apply to any of them because it had to be the right position.

“Brunswick, its mission and its vision speaks to me,” he said, “and I think my experiences in Cape Elizabeth, and Florida and Boston and now here, really lends itself. I think Brunswick is the mix of all three of those places and I really feel that this is where I can be of service and help and carry on the great work that’s being done here.”

Another key piece that drew him to Brunswick is the strong community support for their school, as well as the school board members vested in making sure they operate a comprehensive high school.

“That’s a big attraction for many people, whether they’re moving to the community or they live here now; having a comprehensive high school,” Henninger said. “It’s a big, big, big selling piece to kids, a big selling piece in real estate, a big selling piece in businesses – that the public school that their kids are going to, is comprehensive.”

Despite budget cuts, he sees the school district continuing to commit money to kids so they can continue to attend a comprehensive school by funding arts, athletics and academics.

Henninger isn’t planning to make any changes right away. He’ll start by listening to students, faculty, community and school board members. He also will look at where the school is at with 2015 report of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the agency that accredited the school. He plans to work with the superintendent tackling areas needing to be addressed.

“Those piece will happen over time but the first go around will really be – lets get fine-tuned and see what’s really happening,” he said.

He currently resides in Portland and plans to stay there.

The former principal, Shanna Crofton, served in the role since July 2014  until the end of May. She planned to leave her post at the end of the last school year to become curriculum coordinator. She began maternity leave early so the school department brought in Anne Cass to serve as interim principal until the end of the school year.

Crofton came on board after a period of turnover of leadership at the school following the retirement in 2011 of Bruce Cook, who had a lengthy tenure.

She took the reins from interim Principal Peter Dawson, who has taken over from acting principal Donna Borowick, who was filling the position vacated by former principal Art Abelmann. Abelmann resigned in May 2013 after less than a year on the job.

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