Little revealed by resignation letter of Brunswick High principal

Posted May 29, 2013, at 4:41 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Former Brunswick High School Principal Art Abelmann’s May 21 resignation letter, released Wednesday, sheds little light on his abrupt departure from the school after less than a year.

The handwritten letter, along with a response from Superintendent Paul Perzanoski, Abelmann’s contract and an affidavit of employment, was released by the school Wednesday in response to a Freedom of Access Act request by the Bangor Daily News.

All other correspondence between Abelmann and the school department relating to his employment and resignation was deemed confidential under Maine statute by the school district’s legal firm, Drummond Woodsum.

In the letter, Abelmann wrote, “I respectfully submit my letter of resignation to be effective June 30, 2013. I understand I will be placed on paid administrative leave effective May 22, 2013.”

Perzanoski declined to discuss the process through which Abelmann was hired last May, except to say that the committee knew Abelmann had resigned from Aspen High School in Colorado.

In November 2011, Abelmann resigned just as abruptly from that school after less than two years, citing “personal reasons,” according to the Aspen Times.

“We checked his references around the circumstances,” Perzanoski said Wednesday, but declined to elaborate on what “circumstances.”

School board Chairman Jim Grant said he didn’t know why Abelmann resigned in Colorado, and declined to discuss his resignation here.

Town councilors, who spoke to the BDN, were unaware of Abelmann’s resignation until reading about it in news reports.

“It was a surprise to me,” Councilor Margo Knight said.

Town Council chairwoman Suzan Wilson seconded that.

“Not only did I not know anything, but I would certainly have appreciated a courtesy phone call from the superintendent or the school board chairman to let me know the guy resigned,” Wilson said.

Abelmann’s paid leave extends until June 30, 2013. According to his contract, he earns $98,278 annually. Perzanoski said he did not know the exact amount Abelmann would earn through the remainder of the school year.

According to Perzanoski’s letter to Abelman, the principal lives in Topsham. His number is unlisted. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

Assistant Principal Donna Borowick was named acting principal at Brunswick High School last week. Perzanoski said Wednesday that he would discuss with the school board their options, but that they would likely appoint an interim principal by July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

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