The Gorham Middle School assistant principal will move to a newly created assistant principal position at the high school this fall.
School Committee Chairman Marie South said this week that the reassignment of Assistant Principal Kim Slipp was part of a staff realignment designed to better meet the needs of the growing student population at the high school.
“We realigned staff to meet the needs of the district,” South said. “We saw a need to utilize Kim at the high school.”
Several middle school teachers and staff members attended last week’s school committee meeting to express their sadness over Slipp’s transfer.
Teacher Anton Gulovsen read at last week’s School Committee meeting a letter on behalf of 50 middle school teachers and staff members. “We consider her transfer a great loss to our school. And we want to thank Kim for the 25 years of dedicated service she has rendered,” Gulovsen read.
Superintendent Ted Sharp said the middle school group had asked permission to read the letter and their appearance was not adversarial. “We all knew it. We all had a copy of the letter,” he said.
Susan Hanley, currently director of teacher training, will succeed Slipp as assistant principal at the middle school. Susan Sedenka, the lead literacy teacher at Narragansett School, will replace Hanley. Sharp said the school department would fill Sedenka’s position from outside the department.
Earlier this spring, middle school parents asked school officials to urge Gorham Middle School Principal Dennis Duquette to stay in Gorham. A large gathering of parents went to the School Committee supporting Duquette after Cape Elizabeth announced that Duquette was one of two finalists for a principal’s job there. Duquette withdrew his application for the Cape Elizabeth job.
When asked whether Slipp’s reassignment was connected to the Duquette situation, Sharp replied, “I don’t thinks so. I don’t see it that way. It’s not an issue.”
He said Gorham High School is now approaching 900 students, and the School Department has wanted to add a second assistant principal there for a long time. “Kim is an outstanding assistant principal,” Sharp said.
South said Gorham High School Principal John Drisko and Assistant Principal Sandy Gnidziejko are thrilled to have her.
School Committee member Steve Morin said the high school could use the additional help, and many high schools of Gorham’s size have more than one assistant principal. He said the position was not forced upon her.
“She’s been a true and faithful servant for the school department for many years,” Morin said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about her.”
Gulovsen, who has worked with Slipp for five years, said she has been great. He said she was given flowers and a lamp by teachers and staff in a farewell.
Gulovsen said Slipp cried Monday when they presented her with the gifts. He thought her heart was at the middle school where she enjoyed working.
An ad hoc middle school committee meets for the second time at 7 p.m. today, June 22, in the library at the school. The committee includes three parents, three teachers, Sharp, Duquette, and three members of the School Committee, Jason Libby, South and Roger Marchand, committee chairman.
Parents requested the committee in April after they learned that Duquette might leave. South said the committee was formed to continue looking at positive changes in the environment at the middle school. She said she didn’t know what problems the committee was addressing.
“I don’t know the nature of the problems. I can’t speak to the issues,” she said.
South said about 12 parents attended the committee’s organizational meeting on June 2. She said that a parent of a fifth-grade student might be added to the committee to improve the transition of students to the middle school from the elementary level.
Last week’s letter described Slipp as good listener with a quick wit and calm demeanor. “An advocate for staff, parents and students alike, Kim has manifested her commitment to excellence and passion for the learning environment by remaining a staunch supporter for consistency, academic rigor and professionalism,” the middle school group wrote in support of Slipp.
Slipp didn’t return calls seeking comment for this story.