JAY — At the Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors meeting Thursday night, Sept. 22, staff from Spruce Mountain Middle School again stood in solidarity for their principal Caroline “Carrie” Luce.

Directors announced the need for a search committee for Luce’s position at the Sept. 8 meeting. Thursday they accepted her resignation with deep regret with Director Andrew Sylvester of Livermore voting against the motion.

“You brought the middle school to a different level,” Director Jodi Cordes of Jay said.

“You have done phenomenal work here, I know it has been stressful,” Director Robin Beck of Livermore Falls said.

Speaking as a parent, Director Phoebe Pike of Livermore Falls said her son got very attached to Luce. Pike said she explained to him that Luce would be going to another school. “My son said, ‘The school is a beehive, she’s the queen. How do we replace the queen?'” she stated.

Amanda Gage-Croll, the gifted and talented coordinator at the middle school and other staff members later stood behind Gage-Croll as she read a letter of support for Luce. The letter was signed by 44 staff.


“Less than four months ago, a similar concerned group from the middle school came to the Board with a letter of support for our principal, Carrie Luce,” Gage-Croll read. “Our primary message was that she was an excellent teacher, that without increased support from throughout the district wed would lose her, and that this loss would devastate our school – staff and students alike. Clearly our message was not heeded and she continued to feel unsupported as we are now facing the daunting prospect of choosing a new principal for the third time in just four years.

“Middle school is a unique place to work and it can be especially challenging for a principal during a pandemic, but Carrie had vision, clarity of purpose and strength. We are certain that she would not have taken a step like resigning in September lightly.

“Like it or not, Carrie will be leaving us with big shoes to fill and if we are lucky enough to fill her position with someone as capable as she, we sincerely hope that we, as a community and district, can come together and create an environment that will encourage them to stay.”

Gregory Henderson was hired as the SMMS principal in June 2019 to fill the vacancy created when Scott Albert became superintendent of Regional School Unit 73.

At the June 9 meeting, teachers, education technicians and support staff stood in support of Luce while a similar letter was read. Attached to the letter were signatures from 41 staff, some of whom could not attend the meeting.

At the May 26 Board of Directors meeting several eight grade students and parents of eighth graders expressed concern about the format for the promotion recognition that had been planned. Luce and members of the promotion planning committee met the following week, took those concerns under advisement and made changes to the parade.


Later during her monthly report, Luce said managers are hired to maintain and leaders are hired to transform and build other people up. “My school is gifted with many leaders, I helped lift up more leaders,” she noted.

In other business, the Board also accepted the retirement of elementary school art teacher Tamara “Tammy” Lindsey at the end of the school year.

“Tammy’s done just an amazing job,” Director Elaine Fitzgerald of Jay said. “It’s incredible the work she has done.” Lindsey inspired kids, will be a great loss at the end of the year, she added.

TJ Plourde, the principal at the high school, said Lindsey was his art teacher. “I made my first clay toilet with her,” he noted.

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