Westbrook Superintendent of Schools Marc Gousse has received a formal offer from Bar Harbor school officials to lead the Mount Desert Island Regional School System.
Now, according to Gousse, a contract is being finalized and he expects to travel to Bar Harbor to sign the contract on Thursday, June 2.
“I hope to have that done by the end of the day,” he said Wednesday. “I’m pleased at the opportunity.”
The Mount Desert Island Regional School System, also known as Alternative Organizational Structure 91, has been conducting a lengthy search for a superintendent following the departure of Howard Colter.
Colter accepted an interim superintendent position in Cape Elizabeth this week, but said it’s part of his plan to retire.
Gousse said he expects the contract discussions to go smoothly.
“In coming this far, I don’t foresee anything that would be insurmountable,” he said.
If all goes to plan, he said, he would be signing a contract in the next few days and “beginning the transition process.”
Gousse, who also served as principal of Westbrook High School for 10 years, has been superintendent since 2011.
Gousse, 55, told the American Journal last week that he wasn’t actively seeking out a new job, but was originally approached about the opening last year, when Colter announced his plans to retire. Three weeks ago, he said, he was approached again after the search for Colter’s replacement fell through.
He said he also has a connection with Down East Maine through his time at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, where he still sits on the board of directors. He said he wouldn’t be opposed to a long-term contract on Mount Desert Island.
Last week, Gousse visited the district, toured its schools and met with teachers and other staff.
Charles Wray, the AOS-91 board chairman, said Wednesday that the board is “finalizing” a contract with Gousse.
“So I think it is fair to say that we have made an offer and are working out the details,” he said.
Jim Violette, the chairman of the Westbrook School Committee, said Wednesday that with Gousse most likely leaving, the board will be discussing options for replacing him. An executive session is scheduled for Wednesday, after the American Journal’s deadline, to discuss contract negotiations.
Violette said they’ll be looking at all options, including appointing an interim, or starting a full-fledged superintendent search now, with a goal of hiring someone as close to the upcoming school year as possible.
“We’re going to be faced with some challenges, and we want to make sure we do it right,” Violette said.
Gousse was appointed the interim superintendent after Reza Namin left during the department’s budget season in 2011. Violette said the school committee hired Gousse as superintendent because of the work he accomplished during the budget crisis.
Gousse said he plans to write an “open letter” to the community regarding his time as Westbrook superintendent.
“I just want to thank everybody,” he said.