The School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors has received nine applications for the district’s superintendent position, according to Chairperson Holly Kopp.

The board, representing Topsham, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham and Harpswell schools, will review the pool of applicants, which includes both Maine and out of state educators, and begin conducting interviews during the last week of February. It hopes on March 22 to identify a top candidate who could be on the job July 1.

The district has recently faced a number of challenges, including battles over its COVID policies and significant turnover on the board of directors and within the administration.

“We’re just excited to be engaging in a process where we will be looking at our next educational leader, who can help this district move to where we want to be,” Kopp said.  “I think that many of us are very excited to be looking to the future where our conversations can be refocused on student growth and achievement and less on discussion of COVID protocols, and I feel like we’re slowly making our way in that direction.”

Kopp Contributed / Jeff Lamb Photography

The district has struggled to find stability within the superintendent’s office since Brad Smith retired in 2018. Current interim Superintendent Robert Lucy, who took over after Shawn Chabot stepped down last June, is the third person to hold the position on either a permanent or interim basis since Smith left.

Chabot’s salary was $127,000 when he started in 2019.


“In terms of turnover, I would say that our district is not alone in the extreme challenges and stressors that we have been under throughout COVID,” Kopp said. “Education has been required to operate differently than we ever have before, and we’re still in the midst of that.”

While students and educators struggled to adapt first to remote learning and then to a return to schools, the district’s leadership has faced criticism for its safety policies, including its mask mandate. The board of directors has seen a spate of resignations in recent years, including the recent departure of Harpswell’s Alison Hawkes.

“This board has been toxic for a while,” Hawkes said at the group’s Jan. 27 meeting. Hawkes opposed the district’s mask mandate.

Yet according to Kopp, the board has recently found more unity, as a decline in COVID-19 infections hints a return to normalcy may be approaching.

“I’m feeling very pleased with how well the school board has been working with one another,” she said. “Our last few meetings have been much more calm and peaceful because I feel like we have moved beyond a lot of those controversial COVID-types of issues that have been challenging for everybody across the country.”

Nicole Karod, a 7th grade science teacher at Mt. Ararat Middle School and the President of the Merrymeeting Teachers Association, hopes the new superintendent will continue that trend toward unity in the district.

“We are always hoping that the superintendent is someone who is willing to work with all stakeholders and provide a balance for the district,” Karod said.  “Our hope would be that this person is someone who can bring people together through their leadership.”

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