ROCKLAND, Maine — The chairwoman of the Regional School Unit 13 board announced Sunday night she intends to resign from that post effective March 5.
Esther “Tess” Kilgour cited both personal and philosophical reasons for her decision.
“I have a philosophical difference with the direction that some of the board members believe this district should move towards,” she said in an email sent to board members.
Kilgour said she would remain on the school board to represent Rockland.
“It is my intent to remain as a board member and continue to represent the students and the taxpayers, who elected me, to the best of my ability,” Kilgour stated.
Kilgour also said the “relentless time demand of the job of chairperson shows no sign of letting up in the immediate future. I have a ‘big life,’ to quote a friend, and I have missed too many important events due to my obligation to the job as board chair,” she said.
Kilgour has served on the school board — first on the School Administrative District 5 board and then on the consolidated RSU 13 board — since 2006. She was elected chairwoman in July 2012 and re-elected by the board in July 2013. Her term as a board representative for Rockland runs through November 2015.
The vice chairman of the board is Loren Andrews of Cushing.
RSU 13 consists of Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing.
The board has been sharply divided during the past 18 months, starting with its search for a superintendent. The disputes have continued this fall with deliberations on whether to extend Superintendent Lew Collins’ contract, which expires June 30, 2014.
The board last met Thursday night for a two-hour closed-door meeting with its attorney Bruce Smith to discuss the board’s legal rights and responsibilities.
The board has yet to announce whether it would extend the superintendent’s contract. The board is required to inform the superintendent by Dec. 31 on whether it plans to extend the contract.
Board members Nancy Jeffers and Steve Roberts of Rockland praised Kilgour’s service.
“I am glad that you are staying on the board. I think we still need all opinions and especially your experience on the board. Thank you for your service as chair, that is a big job,” Jeffers said in an email response.
In his own email response, Roberts said it took a lot of courage for Kilgour to take this step.
“Tess, you are a good person, and I personally thank you for the commitment, time, and energy you have put into your service to this community and it’s young folks as the board chair,” he said. “And thanks for staying on the board, you are an important voice for the future of the children in this district.”