The Sebago School Department is searching for a new superintendent to start this July in the wake of Marc Gendron’s resignation last month.

Discussions leading up to Gendron’s resignation have caused some tension among parents and teachers and members of the committee that oversees the one-school, 3-year-old district.

The school committee accepted Gendron’s resignation, effective June 30, after rejecting his request earlier this year to scale back from 96 days of work per year to 60 or 70. The committee said the district needs its part-time superintendent to work at least 96 days per year.

Gendron told the Lakes Region Weekly he is happy with his decision to leave.

“I’m feeling good,” Gendron said. “I’m in a good place in my life with my kids, and I have no problem if I never work again. And I’ll probably get bored and I’ll probably go back and find some things stimulate my mind and, and allow me to work with kids.”

Teachers, however, aren’t so pleased with his upcoming departure.

“We are writing to express our shock and dismay at the decision to release Superintendent Gendron of his duties,” said Randa Viitala, a teacher at Sebago Elementary and president of the Sebago Education Association, reading from a prepared statement at a March 16 committee meeting.

Gendron had suggested to the committee that Principal Kirsten Goff be named assistant superintendent to receive the title and compensation more commiserate with the work she already does. That would also have given Goff the authority to handle certain items that require superintendent attention when Gendron wasn’t on campus. The committee rejected that suggestion as well.

“It seems to me that by suggesting that she is not worthy of advancement in the administrative structure, you are making a grave error,” Special Education Director Sarah Hillery told the committee on March 16.

Goff said last week that she was “an advocate for that change.” She also said that Gendron has been a “great asset” and “advocate” for the school.

Several more teachers and staff, many in tears, spoke in support of Gendron, whom they said was an excellent leader during the tough transition years of setting up the school district and in dealing with COVID.

Meanwhile, Tina Vanasse resigned her position as school committee chairperson after a March 16 executive session about possible ethics violations.

At issue was a long post Vanasse wrote on the  Sebago Community Bulletin Board Facebook page, reminding residents that two committee members’ terms are expiring this year and urging them to “think carefully about who you want on the school committee.”

Vanasse’s resignation as chairperson and Donelle Allen’s nomination to that position was accepted unanimously by the committee March 23 meeting. Vanasse remains on the committee.

Vanasse and Allen did not respond to requests for comment.

Sebago signed a withdrawal agreement with Lake Region School District in July of 2017 to form Sebago Public Schools the following school year and currently serves 117 students.

Gendron signed a three-year contract in April 2018 ahead of Sebago Elementary School’s transition into a one-school district that July. The 2020-2021 budget lists his salary at $61,500; the district’s job posting does not include a salary.

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