Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana plans to leave his position at the end of the 2022-23 school year, moving up his departure by a year.

Botana previously had planned to leave his post at the end of the 2023-24 school year, and in December the board had given him a two-year contract extension through June 30, 2024. But on Tuesday night he told the Portland Public School Board of Education that he would be leaving at the end of the coming school year.

Xavier Botana, superintendent of schools in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer, file

The board was meeting to discuss suspension data for the 2021-22 school year, which shows that Black students are suspended at a higher rate than white students, and whether the district should keep or scrap high school choice. No action was taken on either issue.

The board also voted unanimously to add a vice chair to its leadership structure, and then unanimously elected Adam Burk to the position. Burk has represented District 3 on the board since 2019. The board chair is Emily Figdor.

In announcing his change in plans to the board, Botana said he has been exhausted by the number of decisions that he has had to make over the past few years, but also that he is grateful for his time in the district and for everyone he works with there.

He was hired in 2016 after he committed to staying with the district for the long haul. He will depart after working for seven years. Prior to his hiring, the district had five superintendents in nine years.


The last few years were challenging for everyone but especially for those working on the front lines in education. In addition to managing the day-to-day challenges of running the state’s largest school district, Botana was tasked with managing COVID-19 policies and figuring out how to keep around 6,500 students and 1,250 employees safe during the pandemic.

He was recently recognized as an outstanding leader by the Maine School Superintendents Association at the Maine Department of Education’s 109th annual Commissioner’s Conference for Superintendents. At the time, school board Chair Emily Figdor said she could not think of anyone more deserving, and that Botana is an “exemplary leader” who has a “deep commitment to Portland students,” especially Portland students who are from marginalized groups.

Botana has prioritized equity during his time at the helm of Portland Public Schools. He has worked to reduce gaps in opportunity and achievement for the district’s students from marginalized groups by growing the district’s pre-K program and increasing supports for English language learners and students with disabilities.


While Botana is on his way out, there are five new administrators slated to start in the 2022-23 school year. Longfellow and Lyseth elementary schools are getting new principals, King and Lincoln middle schools are both getting new assistant principals and the district is getting a new operations director.  

The district is still in the process of hiring a principal for Rowe Elementary School, assistant principals for Lyseth and Ocean Avenue elementary schools, a food service director and a leader for the district’s Breathe program. 


Nicole Bradeen will be the new principal at Longfellow Elementary School. Bradeen is replacing Terrence Young, who will be the district’s new executive director for district operations. Bradeen has been an educator for 20 years, working at public and private schools as a teacher, administrator and coach.  

Sara Gips Goodall will take over from Lenore Williams as Lyseth Elementary School principal. Goodall has been working in education for over a decade, largely in Colorado. Goodall is originally from Maine and said she is glad to be back in the state.  

Jason Bradeen, partner to Nicole, will be the new assistant principal at King Middle School. Bradeen is taking over for Craig Hanson, who left his post at King to teach in Scarborough. Bradeen has worked as a school counselor and in other positions in school environments for almost two decades. Most recently he worked as a school counselor at Saco Middle School for five years. 

Blake Kastle is slated to take on the role of assistant principal at Lincoln Middle School starting in the upcoming school year. Prior to taking the role of assistant principal, Kastle was a teacher coach for the district’s Breathe program, which supports students with additional behavioral and emotional support needs. Kastle has worked in education in policy, research and as a teacher for over a decade.  

A statement from the district said that Kastle will take over for Robyn Bailey, who was Lincoln’s interim principal when she left the district at the end of the last school year following a protest at the school. The district has not responded to requests for information about the conditions of her departure.  

Terrence Young will take on the role of executive director of district operations after eight years as the principal of Longfellow Elementary School. Young has worked in public schools for 27 years.  

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