Wiscasset Middle High School Principal Gina Stevens testifies during her dismissal hearing Thursday, Dec. 21. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

The Wiscasset School Committee on Thursday, Dec. 21, fired Gina Stevens, principal of the middle/high school, for authorizing the installation of a hidden camera, among several other transgressions that the committee said made her unfit for the job.

The committee unanimously voted to terminate her employment following an unusual two-day dismissal hearing that was open to the public. Such a hearing is usually conducted in a closed-doors executive session, but Stevens requested it be made public.

“Gina Stevens’ conduct has led to a loss of confidence in the superintendent and School Committee and demonstrated a lack of fitness and ability to serve as an administrator in the Wiscasset School Department,” the committee said in a statement.

Stevens said she ordered the camera’s installation because the food pantry, located in a classroom closet, kept getting broken into. A few days after it was installed, a teacher who said she was unaware of the camera allowed two girls to try on prom dresses in the pantry. Stevens said that was against her directives to staff that students should only change clothes in bathrooms. Superintendent Kim Andersson said she never authorized Stevens to install the camera and said she was horrified when she learned students had changed in front of it.

The committee shared that horror.

“Some people don’t think it’s a big deal. We did,” said School Committee Chairperson Jason Putnam. “She exhibited poor judgment. Actions have consequences.”


Wiscasset School Committee Chairperson Jason Putnam (center) asks Wiscasset Middle High School Principal Gina Stevens a question during her dismissal hearing Thursday. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

Stevens, who only started the job July 1, declined to comment after the decision.

“She’s disappointed with the result,” said her attorney, Gregg Frame.

The dismissal hearing resembled a trial, with Frame and attorneys from the law firm Drummond Woodsum, representing the school department, presenting evidence such as email exchanges and calling school staffers to testify as witnesses.

Stevens testified Thursday she ordered an IT worker to install the camera to catch whoever was breaking into the food pantry and damaging the locks.

“There’s nothing illegal about having a hidden camera unless it’s in area where there’s an expectation of privacy,” Stevens said. “The food pantry is not an area where there’s an expectation of privacy. … It made sense to me.

“I could have never imagined kids would change here.”


Andersson testified she learned of the camera on Oct. 3 when Stevens called her and told her the students had changed clothes in front of it in the pantry. The superintendent said Stevens blamed a teacher for its installation and repeatedly declined to take responsibility for it.

“The judgment to install a hidden camera? Bad,” Andersson said. “But why didn’t she say on Oct. 3 when she called me, ‘Kim, we did this thing but it went sideways and now we got a problem.’ I would have been like, ‘Oh my gosh. What are we going to do? Let’s resolve this and we’ll figure it out, Gina.’ That didn’t happen.

“At every opportunity I was met with deflection and denial.”

The committee said Stevens also exhibited poor judgment when in March, while serving as interim principal, she removed a student from the school “without following applicable law or process.”

Stevens said the student was “very dangerous” and had made multiple threats to students and staff. She said she helped develop an alternative education plan in consultation with the student’s parent that allowed the student to obtain the credits necessary to graduate.

“It was a good thing,” she said.


Andersson, who started her role July 1, said Stevens should have known a student cannot be removed from school for more than 10 days without an expulsion hearing. Stevens said the student’s alternative education plan was developed within that time frame and that the student was “no longer considered out.”

“There was no expulsion,” Stevens said. “Their educational needs were being met.”

Andersson, who last month recommended the School Committee fire Stevens, said the principal also falsely accused students of vaping, mistreated students and staff by yelling at them, and failed to communicate with her on several matters, including a staffing vacancy.

“Gina Stevens’ conduct has demonstrated a failure to be honest and accountable in her dealings with the superintendent, to exercise good judgment and communication in the operation of the schools, and to ensure a safe working and learning environment,” the committee said in its statement.

Stevens denied any wrongdoing.

“I will stand on my record and I will stand on everything I’ve done,” she said. “I love my Wiscasset Middle High School family. I care about the students.”


The situation divided the school community. A group of 25 middle and high school staff members wrote a public letter in support of Stevens, while 17 students walked out of class the week of Thanksgiving and held a protest across the street at the school administration building in support of Stevens. The school has 63 staff members and 251 students.

Former special education teacher Tanya Robinson testified in support of Stevens Thursday.

“She’s fair, compassionate and does what’s right for kids,” she said.

Putnam said the committee had no choice but to fire Stevens.

“We had a fair hearing,” he said. “We followed the letter of the law and the evidence presented. I truly regret the community had to go through this.”

Stevens has 30 days to appeal the committee’s decision through Lincoln County Superior Court. Frame said he will discuss that option with her.

“We’re going to decompress and get the written findings,” he said. “Anytime you have a result like this you have to step back, examine the findings and determine: Is there credible evidence? And is there procedural error? So we’ll look at all that over the next 30 days.”

The scene of the Wiscasset School Committee’s dismissal hearing for Principal Gina Stevens Thursday night. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

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