PARIS — School Administrative District 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts has announced he is leaving his position as of June 30.

Rick Colpitts

While the board of directors has been aware of his plans for about a year, Colpitts delayed announcement as he and other administrators navigated learning during a pandemic for educators and students.

“After 39 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent I made the decision to retire at the end of this school year,” Colpitts said in a statement to faculty and staff. “The decision was not easy but one I believe it is in the district’s and my own best interests. The post-pandemic challenges necessary to address learning loss and lagging finances will require a commitment of leadership that I am unable to make at this time.”

The Peru resident was hired in 2010 to lead the Oxford Hills School District, which includes Norway, Paris, Oxford, Otisfield, Harrison, Hebron, Waterford and West Paris. Five years later, he was named Superintendent of the Year by the Maine School Management Association.

Between 2009-2010 Colpitts served in part time dual administrator roles leading Buckfield (then SAD 39) as well as the Oxford Hills district. Prior to that he was the high school principal in Bethel for two years, and between 1994-2002 the principal of Hartford-Sumner Elementary School.

“I want to thank our teachers and support staff for the endurance you have shown during this unprecedented period in our lives,” he said. “You are the fabric that makes this district such a wonderful place to work and learn. There has been no challenge, even the challenges posed by a pandemic, that you have not accepted with confidence and a positive attitude.”

Colpitts looks forward to spending more time at his family’s off-grid lakeside camp near Lincoln in Penobscot County. He and his wife Marilee share eight children, including a set of twins and a set of triplets, and expect the arrival of their sixth grandchild. Even as he anticipates a slower pace, he expects to continue working in some capacity.

“I have no immediate plans but I will continue to work, whether it’s in education or in a different field,” he said.

Colpitts said he expects the board of directors will start the process of hiring a new superintendent right away.

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