LEWISTON — After a year on the job, Superintendent Todd Finn resigned Wednesday “based on health and wellness concerns for myself and my family,” he said in a statement.

Lewiston Public Schools Superintendent Todd Finn Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

However, the School Committee adjourned without a vote to accept the resignation after two closed-door meetings Wednesday night. The executive sessions, lasting a total of three hours, were listed on the meeting agenda as a personnel matter and a discussion with legal counsel of the committee’s rights and duties.

Finn, 49, had been on bereavement leave since July 1. He began a medical leave Wednesday. His Lewiston house was put on the market June 30. He did not attend the executive sessions because he was at his father’s burial in Massachusetts, he said.

“I think it is only fair to allow the School Committee to begin a search for a new superintendent as I know I will not be able to return in my current capacity,” he said in the statement.

“My heart is with the teachers and kids, and I plan to return to my roots as a true educator,” he said.

He said Wednesday night that his plan is to teach again after being an administrator for 13 years.

“When my dad passed, I made the decision to choose what I’m passionate about. And that’s teaching,” he said. “The greatest impact I can have with the skill set God has given me is in the classroom.”

He said the stress of being an administrator has taken a toll on his health.

“I’m only 50 percent healthy,” he said.

He began his Lewiston appointment with enthusiasm and a detailed agenda to turn around the district’s low graduation rate and test scores.

He often praised the School Committee and worked well with it. But recently, relations appeared to be frayed. At a meeting June 22, member Tanya Whitlow called him “deceitful” in offering an answer to a question.

“I resent that. I am a man of integrity,” he replied. “I am not deceitful.”

“I didn’t call you deceitful,” Whitlow said. “I said your language was deceitful.”

Committee Chairwoman Monique Roy interrupted further exchanges. “We are not doing this,” she said.

A week earlier, Finn clashed with the committee over an outside educational service, the Tree Street Youth Center’s Next STEP alternative education program.

The committee voted, over Finn’s objections, to instruct him to sign a memorandum of understanding with Tree Street that was initially signed by former Superintendent Bill Webster.

Finn said the following day that he wanted to write his own memorandum and that he had concerns about the program.

“I wanted to ensure accountability,” he said. “That is well within my rights as a superintendent and that was taken away from me last night. Frankly, I was shocked because I have worked so well with the School Committee.”

Finn, a native of Massachusetts, was hired February 2019 by a unanimous vote of the School Committee. He began his duties July 1, 2019.

Before taking the job in Lewiston, he worked as a teacher, a basketball coach, an assistant principal and principal of high schools in North Carolina, Georgia and Vermont.

He brought to Lewiston a three-year plan to improve the graduation rate, increase attendance and initiate social/emotional learning in the 5,200-pupil district.

He created focus groups on topics including equity and teacher self-esteem. He held public forums to hear from the community and he visited schools to hear from students and teachers in what he called Fridays with Finn.

He was intent on bringing the city’s high school graduation rate up from 74% to 90% by 2022.

He created a program called Impact Academy that will be housed at the former Longley Elementary School, where students can take classes before or after the regular school day or on Saturday.

Students who are lagging will be offered one-on-one, small-group or online instruction, whatever works best for them, Finn said in a February 2020 interview.

He said in an interview in February 2019 that he planned to lead the community to “dig deeper” and get answers to two questions: “Where do we think we can be? How do we get there?”

He said he wanted to be in a place “that is scrappy and hungry. I want that because I am.”

Residents commented on the online story that Finn “seems like a perfect fit” for Lewiston.

He was signed to a three-year contract. His salary was $135,000 the first year.

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