LIVERMORE FALLS — Gilbert Eaton, interim principal of Spruce Mountain High School’s campus in Jay, submitted his letter of resignation at the RSU 73 board meeting Thursday night. His last day is Nov. 9.

The board accepted Eaton’s letter with regret.

Eaton, a former principal of Dirigo High School in Dixfield, Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township and Skowhegan Area High School in Skowhegan, retired in 2006 and took the Jay position in October 2009.

In his letter of resignation, he said that although he has forged positive professional and personal relationships during his tenure, it was time to step away.

“I have found myself increasingly juggling the demands of this position with the exponentially increasing need to respond to the ‘flavor of the year’ federal or state defined initiatives or crises.

“I am too frequently distracted from our students and staff by directives that rob time from supporting the essence of good schools — quality teaching and student engagement in learning,” he wrote. “I must step away and restore my energy, focus and courage.”

Telephone calls to Eaton asking for further comment were not returned.

Eaton leaves at a time when the district is searching for ways to bring the high school students at the Jay and Livermore Falls campuses together in Jay at the beginning of school year 2013-14.

Superintendent Robert Wall said he would have preferred Eaton stayed during this time, but the school district will continue to make the transition.

“We will miss his leadership,” Wall said.

Calls to interim Principal Steve Leunig at the Livermore Falls campus were also not returned. Both Eaton and Leunig were hired as interim principals.

The board will decide at its Oct. 25 meeting how to handle the temporary leadership for the Jay high school from Nov. 9 through the end of the school year, Wall said.

The board also announced a timeline for filling the position permanently, beginning July 1, 2013. By the time the new person is hired, it is expected all high school students will be in Jay. The board is studying options and is expected to have a recommendation by the end of the year.

The deadline for applications for the position is Nov. 16. A screening committee is expected to choose three candidates for interviews on Nov. 19. Interviews will be conducted in December, with the board expected to make a recommendation for a vote Dec. 13.

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