SCARBOROUGH — The School Board plans to hire an interim superintendent and has started interviewing candidates.

The decision to hire a temporary administrator comes almost six months after Julie Kukenberger’s November 2018 announcement she would resign from her position and step down when her contract expires in June.

“Hiring a superintendent is one of the most important decisions a School Board can make, and although we had many outstanding candidates, we strongly believe we are making the best choice for the district,” School Board Chairwoman Leanne Kazilionis said in an April 26 press release.

In February, the board scheduled public forums, conducted online surveys and gathered input in an effort to fill the position. The decision to wait on hiring a permanent school chief is one Kazilionis said puts a focus on the needs of the students.

“We believe it is important to find a superintendent who embodies the qualities most important to our board, staff, and community,” she said. “Regarding the interim position, we have had great interest, have begun our interviews, and intend to make an announcement at a board meeting in the near future.”

Kazilionis said said Maine law dictates that the School Department hire a superintendent by July 1. She said four candidates were interviewed for the position, and three were brought in for final interview, but did not specify how many are under consideration for the provisional position.

The cost of an interim, Kazilionis said, depends on several variables, which makes it impossible to predict whether a temporary appointment will be a less expensive option. Regardless, she said, cost was not a factor in the board’s decision.

Kukenberger’s resignation came after several months of controversy that focused heavily on her role in the resignation of former Scarborough High School Principal David Creech in February 2018, the recall of three sitting School Board members, and the election of five new board members.

“The decision to hire an interim has nothing to do with the controversy or the existing superintendent,” Kazilionis said. “It’s really a matter of balancing what our community needs.”

In November 2018, Kukenberger submitted a statement to the board regarding her contract which, at the time, was set to expire in December 2018.

“I would be remiss not to mention the contention that has gone into this School Board election and the recall this past spring. One of the issues that has been repeatedly raised is my contract,” Kukenberger said. “… Given the challenges this board faces and the need to focus 100 (percent) of their time on doing what is right for our children, I want to take this issue off the table.”

The April 26 press release noted the interim superintendent position will be advertised through the Maine School Management Association and remain posted until a candidate is hired.

Krysteana Scribner can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9094. Follow her on Twitter: @krysteana2016.

Kukenberger

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