Transitions in Superintendent Role a New Challenge for SAD 1


Carly Guerrette

SAD 1 Superintendent Brian Carpenter resigned on January 18. “The board would like everyone to know how important SAD 1 is to us,” said Lucy Richard chair of the SAD 1 school board. 

Carly Guerrette and Torrie Casey

For the first time in SAD 1 history, the school district found itself with a sudden transition in leadership mid-school year when former superintendent Brian Carpenter resigned at the school board meeting on January 16, with the resignation effective on Friday, January 18.

Carpenter had worked for SAD 1 since 2016, as well as SAD 45, where he began as superintendent during the 2016-2017 school year.

The Anchor staff reached out to Carpenter, but did not receive a response. In a recent WAGM interview, Carpenter said, “When I first started in the position three years ago, the district wanted changes, and I worked hard to make those happen.”

A climate survey was initiated by the school board and was sent out to all of SAD 1 faculty and staff at the beginning of December 2018. According to one part of the summary of the results, 74.45 percent of SAD 1 employees disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: “Central Office leadership is respectful of divergent opinions and of different points of view within boundaries of the values and mission of the district.” This survey, in part, coincided with the timing of Carpenter’s resignation. Echoing this, the WAGM report also indicated a potential vote of no confidence had Carpenter not resigned.

“We as the board would like to wish Mr. Carpenter well on his future endeavors,” SAD 1 Board of Directors Chair Lucy Richard said. Richard added, “The school board would like everyone to know how important SAD 1 is to our board and everything we do is to help you.”

Dr. Gehrig Johnson is the interim superintendent until July 1, 2019. “Having Dr. Johnson fill in while we find a new superintendent makes this transition much easier because he knows what he’s doing,” said Richard. The Anchor Staff reached out to Dr. Johnson, but did not receive a response.

Ben Greenlaw, PIHS Principal, spoke to what he saw as the unique challenges of serving as superintendent for a district such as SAD 1.  In part, “I think that the budget of all the schools would be very hard,” he said. “You want what is best for the students, but at the same time you do not want a higher cost to taxpayers.”

In the halls of PIHS, students have not seemed rattled by or aware of the sudden change in district leadership. “I did not know that Mr. Carpenter resigned until one of my friends told me,” said Gabe Flannery ‘22. Many students did not know about the resignation, which may indicate the separation of that level of administrative presence from the day-to-day lives of students.

A student who was aware, Charlotte Carrier ‘19,  said, “I knew that he resigned and honestly I was glad. I would always hear teachers complain about him.” Carrier went on to say, “I feel that he was trying to change PIHS and not in a way that the faculty and staff wanted.”

The SAD #1 School Board is hoping to fill the position before July 31, 2019, and is working with Maine School Management Association on this process.