AUGUSTA — The president of the University of Maine at Augusta is leaving to take a job in California, University of Maine System Chancellor James Page said Monday.

Allyson Handley is stepping down to become the executive director of the National University’s Sanford Education Center, which will educate nonprofit leaders and teachers.

Handley will stay at the Augusta campus through Sept. 8, the university said. Page said he will immediately begin working with leaders of the university and others to choose an interim president.

Handley, who has led the 5,000-student university since 2008, said in a statement that the decision to step down was difficult. But she said the school is in great shape and the “tremendous leadership team” will continue its “momentum, growth and success.”

The seven-school UMaine system, which is dealing with budget concerns due to declining enrollment and flat state funding, has experienced leadership shake-up over the last several months.

In June, Susan Hunter recently was named the first female president of the University of Maine after Paul Ferguson left for Indiana’s Ball State University. Her two-year appointment leading the school in Orono began last month.

Last month, former Central Maine Power chief David Flanagan was named interim president of the University of Southern Maine following interim President Theodora Kalikow’s decision to step down. She became acting vice chancellor of the system through the end of her contract next year.

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