SULLIVAN, Maine — The current principal of Sumner Memorial High School has found a new job with Regional School Unit 24.
Michael Eastman will become the principal of Peninsula School in Gouldsboro after the end of June, according to the school district’s superintendent.
Eastman’s future as a school administrator in the RSU became an issue in March after Sumner was named by the Maine Department of Education as one of the 10 “persistently low-achieving” schools in the state. This designation made the school eligible for federal funding of up to $2 million a year for three years, but only if Eastman was replaced.
The RSU 24 board voted in late March to apply for the funding and to replace Eastman as principal.
Some people defended Eastman’s performance as Sumner’s principal, a position he has held since July 2004, saying he did not deserve to take the fall for the school’s results. Others who favored applying for the grant said the potential effect of the money on student performance at Sumner was too significant to pass up, even if it meant Eastman would have to give up his job.
Calling the situation with Peninsula a “win-win,” RSU 24 Superintendent Bill Webster said Monday he expects Eastman to be a good fit at the Gouldsboro school. Eastman has not been an elementary school administrator before, Webster said, but he has taught at the elementary school level.
“He has the interests of the students foremost in his mind,” Webster said. “I think he’ll do a good job down there.”
Eastman’s experience at Sumner will help him ensure that Peninsula pupils are ready for high school when they graduate from the eighth grade, Webster added. Peninsula, which serves the towns of Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor, has about 200 pupils, he said. Sumner’s current enrollment is about 270 students.
David Crandall, Peninsula School’s current principal, will leave after only one year in Gouldsboro to take a job as principal at an elementary school in Kennebunkport, according to the superintendent. Eastman is expected to begin his new duties at Peninsula on July 1.
As for finding a new principal for Sumner, Webster said RSU 24 has received 17 applications and is reviewing them now. He said he hopes to have someone hired as soon as possible, and he expects to have a new top administrator at the school by the end of the school year.