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Albert appointed acting superintendent following LeRoy’s exit

  • JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors named Spruce Mountain Middle School Principal Scott Albert as acting superintendent Thursday night, Jan. 10.

    Scott Albert, seen at right, has been hired as the acting superintendent for Regional School Unit 73 until an interim can be hired. He will continue as principal of the middle school. The school board accepted Superintendent Todd LeRoy’s resignation Jan. 1o. (Sun Journal file photo)

    The decision followed the acceptance of Superintendent Todd LeRoy’s resignation, effective that day.

    LeRoy was hired in August 2018 and given a two-year contract for $105,000 per year, $1,000 a month in lieu of health insurance and 25 days of paid vacation per year, according to board member Steve Langlin of Livermore.

    LeRoy was not at Thursday’s meeting.

    Directors agreed to pay LeRoy through Jan. 9, 2020. The arrangement followed closed-door negotiations earlier last week.

    Board member Steven Langlin, who was appointed secretary pro tem for Thursday’s meeting, said Jan. 11 it’s essentially as though LeRoy is employed for another year.

    The unanimous vote to accept the resignation followed actions by LeRoy that led to weeks of confusion for students, staff and community members over the Christmas break.

    In late December, RSU staff learned Spruce Mountain High School Principal TJ Plourde was no longer an employee, there was a plan to merge the middle and high schools, Albert was being transferred to Spruce Mountain Primary School and Primary School Principal Kevin Harrington was taking over the combined middle and high schools.

    After an emergency board meeting Jan. 2, LeRoy said there would be no school restructuring and Plourde was on administrative leave.

    The next day, Harrington announced the three principals would return to their prior positions on Jan. 7.

    On Jan. 8 by a tally of 155-4, staff members from the four schools in Regional School Unit 73 voted no confidence in LeRoy.

    Some staff members said they were concerned with LeRoy’s recent actions and with the resulting atmosphere at all of the district’s schools, according to information provided by the association.

    Those concerns included:

    • LeRoy’s alleged failure to communicate effectively.

    • LeRoy’s “constantly changing” stories about what occurred with building restructuring and administrative changes.

    • LeRoy’s alleged behavior or actions that have created an atmosphere of distrust and anxiety at the schools and within the communities.

    • Disruption to the educational process in the middle of the school year.

    “The RSU 73 Education Association feels we need strong leadership to insure a constructive and safe learning environment, and the staff has made it clear they feel that Superintendent LeRoy was not providing this,” according to a statement issued by the association.

    More than 100 teachers, parents, students and community members attended the Jan. 10 board meeting.

    Asked why the board had not acted sooner on the administrative changes LeRoy made, Chairwoman Denise Rodzen said LeRoy was on holiday break, the facts hadn’t been determined and directors needed to follow the law.

    “When this hit us, everybody, the superintendent had just left,” board Chairwoman Denise Rodzen said. “We needed to have factual information of what took place. He returned Jan. 1. We never voted, hadn’t gone through the process that was followed when we merged the elementary schools. We needed to have the person here to pull it back. Once he was here, we met with him and he did.”

    Pam Spaulding, a substitute teacher with more than 30 years experience, said she thought there was a personality conflict involved.

    “A person who’s paid a lot of money went rogue, didn’t discuss it with you. Will we ever know how much we’re paying him to get rid of him? That’s coming out of our taxes. We deserve to know,” she said.

    Vice Chairman Michael Morrell said there were two options the board considered regarding LeRoy. The first was the one chosen: to accept his resignation and sign a release.

    He said the second option, dismissal, would have been much more costly because it would have required hearings to determine if what the superintendent did was enough to terminate him. From there it goes to the commissioner of education with more legal hearings. The commissioner can decide to return the superintendent to his position or decide the board was wrong and pay the rest of his contract.

    “He would be on paid administrative leave throughout, about $400 per day. That would be a more expensive burden on taxpayers,” Morrell said.

    Rodzen said other options were to do nothing or keep him and put him on an action plan.

    Morrell said, “I know it doesn’t sit well, doesn’t feel good. This option hurts less.”

    Several people spoke of the lack of communication and the need to rebuild trust between the board and community members. Others suggested tightening up future superintendent’s contracts.

    Livermore Administrative Assistant Amy Byron suggested a probationary period be added.

    Board member Shannon McDaniel said she has lived in Livermore six years and has never been part of a community that is so loving, so caring, so tight-knit.

    Rodzen announced she would be stepping down from the board. Livermore Falls will need someone to fill the remaining time on her term.

    Board members Tammy Frost and Shari Ouellette also said they wouldn’t be seeking re-election.

    Director Ann Schwab said, “There’s a lot more to do in this district. The board members can’t do it alone. We need your help.”

    Morrell added, “The seats at board meetings are often empty. I don’t want this community to show this much passion only when something like this happens. I want this much community involvement at every meeting.”

    One community member said the community has a great responsibility to the board to share the good that’s going on in the district.

    Friday night Jan. 11 Langlin said that Albert would serve as acting superintendent while continuing as middle school principal.

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