Regional School Unit 5 directors, hoping to wrap up the search for a new superintendent, learned last week they are losing another top administrator.
Freeport High School Principal Brian Campbell, in his second year at the school, has resigned. He has taken a position at principal at Saco Middle School, in the town where he lives. Michelle Ritcheson, chairwoman of the RSU 5 Board of Directors, said that Campbell announced his resignation, effective June 30, last Thursday.
“It’s unfortunate, for sure,” Ritcheson said Monday. “But it is the way any business works. People come and people go.”
Campbell, 47, who was brought on in part to usher in proficiency-based education at Freeport High, said in an email to the Tri-Town Weekly that he looks forward to the same goal in Saco.
“I was offered an opportunity to lead proficiency-based education and project-based learning at a school closer to home,” he said.
Campbell said he values the relationships he established at Freeport High.
“I will miss FHS, the staff, community, supportive parents and particularly the kids,” he said. “FHS is heading in a very positive direction and I am confident with the leaders amongst the staff, it will continue on that trajectory.”
Campbell, who succeeded Bob Strong, came to Freeport from RSU 20, where he was principal at Searsport District High School/Middle School.
Campbell is well-versed in proficiency-based education, which, in a previous interview, he said “rests on the belief that all kids should have access to a more challenging curriculum. It’s a quality-based learning system. It’s about establishing what proficiency is for a particular standard, and then as the students produce work, you judge it based on a scoring criteria, which we’re in the process of developing now.”
The school board, meanwhile, is in the latter stages of the hiring process to find a successor to Superintendent Ed McDonough, who announced his resignation two months ago. McDonough, in his first year on the job, said he is leaving for personal reasons. The board is conducting interviews with candidates, and hopes to name a new superintendent on May 25, during the annual budget meeting to be held at Durham Community School.
John Egan, parent of a daughter who is a sophomore at Freeport High, said that the two vacancies are “pure coincidence.” Still, Egan, who regularly attends school board meetings, knows what this board is up against.
“The board needs to be mindful of other districts who might be poaching key staff from us,” Egan said. “I’m not saying this is the case here, but teacher and administrative salaries here are not the highest in our part of Maine.”
Bailey’s annual salary was $100,940.
Egan added that he thought McDonough was doing a good job as superintendent, while Campbell was starting “to turn things around” in getting proficiency-based education going in the high school.
“I think we’ll get through this,” he added.
Brian Campbell enjoys observing students in the classroom at Freeport High School.