With the June 30 retirement of Susan Cressey, RSU 21 is looking for a new principal for the 750-student Kennebunk High School. Cressey has been principal for 9 of the 34 years she has worked at the school. Courtesy Photo

KENNEBUNK – With the end of the school year coming in June and the end of an extended contract for Principal Susan Cressey, RSU 21 is looking for a new administrator at Kennebunk High School.

The district, which includes 750 students from Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel, and 100 staff members, began advertising for a new principal last week.

The new principal will be working in a recently-renovated and expanded building that incorporates the 1939 facade of the original but includes brand-new classrooms, a lecture hall, conference rooms and much more. The project, which had a $42.8 million price tag, was completed in 2018.

Cressey had submitted her intent to retire notice back in August 2018, to be effective June 30, 2019, but that didn’t happen. In December, 2018, allegations surfaced that indicated the longtime district employee was not leaving of her own volition and ultimately, the RSU 21 School Board allowed her to withdraw her intent to retire.

RSU 21 Acting Superintendent Phillip Potenziano on Friday said the district had entered into a settlement agreement with Cressey in January 2019 that extended her contract for one year, until the end of the school year in June, 2020.

The advertisement for a new principal invites applicants, in part, to “Bring a love for what you do and your expertise to Kennebunk High School as our next principal, where you will deliver measurable results in leadership, student achievement, and staff engagement.”


It notes that Kennebunk High School consistently ranks as one of the best high schools in Maine,

Application are due Feb. 10.

Cressey reflected on her tenure as principal in an email.

This is her ninth year as principal, and her 34th at KHS.

“I taught English, served as English department chair and began serving as a curriculum coordinator on the administrative team in 1995 while continuing to teach,” she said. “In 2007, I oversaw the school’s authorization to become the first International Baccalaureate high school in Maine.”

Under her leadership, she said the school established a number of educational pathways at KHS, including the STEM program and articulation agreements with York County Community College, Southern Maine Community College and the University of New England.

She said the school’s Alternative Education Program has become a viable pathway in the last nine years, and that enrollments at Sanford Regional Technical Center, Biddeford Regional Center of Technology, and PATHS have increased.

She noted the major building renovation and a recent re-accreditation of the school by the New England Association of Secondary Schools.

Aside from her duties at KHS,  Cressey  was also an adjunct professor of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the University of New England on-line master’s program for a number of years.

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