HALLOWELL — Matthew Gilbert, the superintendent of Regional School Unit 2, has announced his resignation after less than a month on the job, marking the fifth departure of a superintendent in the district in three years.

Matthew Gilbert, the superintendent of Hallowell-based Regional School Unit 2, has announced his resignation after less than a month on the job. Zoom screenshot

Gilbert told faculty and staff members this weekend he will be leaving RSU 2 and will return to his former district, Rumford-based Regional School Unit 10 Western Foothills, to serve as assistant superintendent.

Gilbert worked in RSU 10 for more than 20 years and served as a principal at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

“While I am proud of the changes we have made and excited for the future of RSU 2, I cannot deny my loyalty and compassion for the communities of RSU 10,” Gilbert wrote in a letter to RSU 2 faculty and staff members.

Gilbert told the Kennebec Journal on Monday morning there is “nothing pushing me away, but my history, connections and relationships are pulling me home to RSU 10.”

He served in RSU 2 as acting superintendent since February and was hired permanently effective July 1. Gilbert had been hired under a two-year contract paying $125,000 a year.


He was hired by RSU 10 last Thursday at the district’s board of directors meeting, and RSU 10 Superintendent Deb Alden posted the news Friday on the district’s website. Alden said Gilbert wants to “return home,” and will start there in October.

The RSU 2 board of directors met last Friday in an emergency session to discuss Gilbert’s resignation.

Gilbert’s resignation, effective Sept. 30, marks the fifth resignation of a superintendent in RSU 2 since 2019.

Virgil Hammonds left as superintendent in 2015, and Bill Zima succeeded him until 2019. After Zima, Cheri Towle served as superintendent from August 2019 until her last day of work in December 2019. She later resigned, in April 2020, for health reasons.

Then-Assistant Superintendent Mary Paine served as interim superintendent from December 2019 to August 2020. After Paine, Tonya Arnold was superintendent from August 2020 until she took a medical leave of absence and then resigned in February 2022.

Gilbert was originally hired as the assistant superintendent to Arnold, but took over in February 2022 as interim superintendent. He was officially hired as superintendent in April 2022, with an official start date of July 1.


“RSU 2 is a great place,” Gilbert told the Kennebec Journal. “The work people have done through the Future Search to set our direction will guide the district’s plan emerging from the past two years. This has been a very positive experience. I can say with confidence the RSU 2 community has a clear directive and plan for the future.”

The district’s Future Search, as Gilbert referenced in his statement, was a two-day conference in which community members could stop in and provide input on ways they would like to see the district grow, which included a call for more transparency in the district and an increase in communication.

He also helped find an assistant superintendent to fill his former position, hiring then-Hall-Dale Elementary School Principal Kristie Clark for the role.

Donna Seppy, chair of the RSU 2 board of directors, said the board is “exploring options” for the superintendent’s position for the upcoming school year.

She said Gilbert was leading RSU 2 in the right direction, and his salary and benefits will be paid through Sept. 30, his last scheduled day with the district.

RSU 2 enrolls students from Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth and Richmond, while RSU 10 Western Foothills serves Buckfield, Hanover, Mexico, Roxbury Rumford and Sumner.

“Sometimes you have to travel across many roads to get to where you want to be, and while Matt has definitely helped us forge a path forward, RSU 2 is on our way to continued success,” Seppy told the Kennebec Journal. “I am grateful for the time and energy Superintendent Gilbert gave to the district and wish him all the best as he journeys back home.”

Russ Hughes, a member of the RSU 2 board of directors, shared news of Gilbert’s resignation on the Richmond Family & Friends Facebook Page on Saturday morning. Most community members responded with disappointment, while others were critical of his sudden departure and called for the district “to pay more” and for “the higher ups” to look into the superintendent turnover rate.

“Matt Gilbert is an awesome person,” Becky Groomes, a Richmond resident, wrote in response to the post. “He’s an amazing teacher, coach and administrator! I think there are issues at RSU 2 that could probably be addressed.”

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