June 19, 2018
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Brunswick High School’s principal resigns abruptly

By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff

The unexpected exit this week of Brunswick High School principal Art Abelmann continues to be a mystery.

Parents waiting to pick up their children Thursday didn’t know the school was without a principal with three and a half weeks left in the school year.

Abelmann resigned abruptly Tuesday after less than a year on the job — and less than two years after resigning as principal of a Colorado high school.

Brunswick Superintendent Paul Perzanoski received Abelmann’s resignation Tuesday, which was his last day on the job, Assistant Superintendent Greg Bartlett confirmed.

Abelmann, of Topsham, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

When asked if Abelmann was the subject of disciplinary action during the year, or whether he was forced to resign, Bartlett said, “No comment.”

Exiting the school Thursday, students had mixed reports.

Cheyenne Gallison, 17, of Brunswick, said her teacher told her Abelmann wasn’t “a good fit” for the school.

Jake Dignum, 17, an exchange student from Barnstay, England, said he heard from a teacher the principal left because of “an emergency.”

Abelmann was injured in a motorcycle crash on Sept. 11, 2012, at the intersection of Maine Street and Maquoit Road in Brunswick. He was not wearing a helmet and no one else was hurt, Deputy Chief Marc Hagan of the Brunswick Police Department said Thursday. Abelmann has not been the subject of any criminal investigations during the last year, police said.

Bartlett said he had not seen Abelmann’s letter of resignation and did not know what it said.

Perzanoski made the announcement in a letter to parents Wednesday.

“Mr. Abelmann has moved on for personal reasons and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the superintendent wrote.

Perzanoski is on vacation Thursday and Friday and was unavailable for comment, Bartlett said.

The school board accepted Abelmann’s resignation during a budget meeting Wednesday night. There was no public discussion of the resignation, said school board chairman Jim Grant.

The board “went into executive session, we read that he was resigning, we came out of executive session and accepted it unanimously,” Grant said.

The move, it seems, caught many unaware.

Grant said he doesn’t know the circumstances surrounding Abelmann’s resignation in Colorado.

According to a Dec. 11, 2011, article in The Aspen Times, Abelmann was not popular with the staff at Aspen High School during his short tenure there.

In one instance, “A member of the staff was offended enough by the principal’s repeated comments regarding her personal life that she filed a complaint with the superintendent’s office,” the paper reported. “Although no legal actions were taken and no monetary settlement was involved with the case, the incident further cemented the prevailing feeling that Abelmann’s personality and management style were not right for AHS.”

He resigned from the Aspen School District in November 2011, effective immediately, and was given a $30,000 settlement, The Aspen Times reported.

Bartlett said Abelmann did not receive a severance package in Brunswick.

Assistant Principal Donna Borrowick will serve as acting principal of Brunswick High School, he said.

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