FARMINGTON — In a vote of 15-1 on Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors voted to accept Superintendent Tina Meserve’s letter of resignation. The vote followed an executive session, and board member Dennis O’Neil of Farmington was the lone dissenter.

Regional School Unit 9 Superintendent Tina Meserve submitted her resignation Tuesday, December 1, to the Board of Directors. It was approved 15-1. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal file photo

Meserve was hired in July 2018 after serving as superintendent of RSU 16 in Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland since 2013.

At RSU 9, Meserve has faced ongoing opposition from staff and community members, made public through a no-confidence vote on Oct. 30. She also received a community-led, no-confidence vote at RSU 16 in June 2017.

The RSU 9 board on Tuesday, tasked Chairperson Angela LeClair of Wilton to search for interim superintendent options to present to the board.

“She [Meserve] will resign her position as soon as the district is able to hire an interim superintendent of schools in the advance no later than Dec. 30, 2020,” LeClair said in a phone interview, Wednesday morning.  

Until an interim replacement is found, LeClair said that Meserve will continue her assigned duties until the end of December.

The board is currently receiving counsel from the district’s attorney as to whether Meserve’s contract stipulates any provisions upon resignation.

Meserve’s annual salary is $131,325 which was due to increase to $134,608 on July 1, 2021, and to $137,973 on July 1, 2022, until the contract’s termination on June 30, 2023.

Meserve, of Livermore, read from the following letter before the board approved her resignation:

“Good Evening,

“As you know, we face significant challenges with negotiations, staff morale, and the many challenges of educating our children during a pandemic. As recently as last week, I remained hopeful that the district could move forward with my leadership. I felt we could collaboratively address the concerns with the goal of understanding and mutual support while also focusing on our students’ needs.

“Upon reflection over Thanksgiving break, I realize that is not what is happening. I have, from the beginning, had the best interests of our district at heart. I still do. My highest priority is that all parties can focus on the children. For this reason, I am resigning as superintendent in hopes that the district will move forward and unify around students.

“To the board, I want you to know how much I appreciate your ongoing support. We have accomplished many goals in the last two years.

“Together, we addressed the concerns parents raised in my first board meeting about instructional practices and grading. We improved our system and provided significant professional development for our staff. The result was 13% (approximately 313 students) more students reaching proficiency in reading (English Language Arts) than in previous years. Math achievement improved 2% at a time when the state saw a decrease in performance.

“Together, we added transparency and accountability to our financial and budget procedures. We designed a needs-based budget process that gave teachers and administrators input in identifying the building-level needs and resulted in an understood and widely supported budget by our communities.

“Despite those accomplishments and many others, there is work to be done to build on our successes. I hope that with new leadership, the district can move forward together. I care deeply about Mt. Blue. Mt. Blue is my district. I graduated from Mt. Blue High School, did my teacher preparation with several of our finest educators, and then taught in RSU 9. I was a teacher for 17 years in total. Teaching is hard, and it’s been made even more challenging because of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, unity is critical.

“So, while our work is not done, I feel that the board’s acceptance of my resignation is the best way to support the district and me.

“I want to thank the staff, students, and community that make the district so special and wish everyone well as they continue to educate during a pandemic, address contract issues through negotiations and unify around our students. I wish all the best for our district/RSU9.”

LeClair offered the board’s farewell after Meserve read from her letter, listing off district accomplishments under her leadership:

“On behalf of the board, I accept your resignation. The board appreciates the work you have done for our district and had hoped to move forward together. We have achieved some great things under your leadership.

“The budget, Tina increased transparency and public input in the budget process by having public forums for both the staff and the community, and for two years in a row, delivered a budget that had reduced financial impacts to the taxpayers that helped us pass a budget on the first try in both years.

“Tina helped implement the board’s vision of having social workers and Board Certified Behavior Analyst available in our schools with the PALS program (Pathways for All Learners).

“She identified and addressed a longstanding $2.2 million shortfall with the state.

“Student test scores increased significantly after her implementation of PBE (proficiency-based education) in the district after her first year.

“She increased public relations through social media work, both with Facebook and an updated website allowing the public to have a better insight of what is going on in our district.

“Tina implemented a plan to review and update many policies that were no longer meeting federal and/or state regulations.

“Tina guided us through an unprecedented time of a global pandemic. Applying for and managing grants to help cover the costs that were incurred to adjust to remote learning and safety concerns.

“We thank you for your service during these very difficult times, and we wish you well.”

 

 

 

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