ORONO, Maine — Orono Middle School Principal Robert Lucy is leaving for a post in the Bangor school system less than two months after the RSU 26 board voted to eliminate his job and later decided to reinstate it.
He announced his decision to take an assistant superintendent job in Bangor this week.
“While I am excited about this new opportunity in the Bangor School Department, I will truly miss the wonderful school community at Orono Middle School,” Lucy said in an interview Friday afternoon.
Superintendent Douglas Smith informed the RSU 26 board of Lucy’s decision during Wednesday night’s board meeting, according to Lisa Buck of Orono, chairwoman of the board.
Lucy said he is taking the Bangor job because it is “an opportunity for professional growth and a new challenge for me,” not because of recent turmoil in the Orono/Veazie/Glenburn school district.
His decision comes less than two months after the school board voted to eliminate Lucy’s job, as well as the principal’s position at Orono’s Asa C. Adams School, as part of a plan to close a significant budget shortfall.
The plan was to hire one administrator to serve as principal for both schools. Some residents decried the plan, arguing it might compromise school safety and quality. Others backed it, saying they would rather use money saved by cutting an administrator to keep teachers.
Lucy said he applied for the Bangor position after he saw it posted sometime in March, the same month that the RSU 26 board first voted on the fate of the administrative positions.
A month later, the board reversed its decision when it voted to reinstate both principal positions.
At that April 11 meeting, John Lucy, a lawyer and Robert Lucy’s brother, said he believed eliminating the two Orono administrators would have resulted in a breach of contract and possibly litigation if the board didn’t restore the positions.
Robert Lucy said he is excited to take his new post in Bangor, where he has lived for the past 26 years. His three daughters went through the Bangor school system, which he said has “visionary leadership” from its school board, its superintendent and its administrators.
“I was very impressed with the Bangor School Department’s strategic plan,” Lucy said, adding that it matches well with his educational philosophy.
“It’s very student-oriented and it really focuses on personalized, achievement-oriented instruction for all students,” Lucy said.
Bangor school committee Chairwoman Phyllis Guerette said she was excited that Lucy chose to come work for Bangor schools.
“I’m delighted,” Guerette said Friday afternoon. “I think he’s going to do an excellent job for us.”
She said Lucy’s experience and commitment to students made him an ideal candidate.
Lucy spent 28 years working in Orono schools and the last 12 years as principal of Orono Middle School.
Buck said Friday that there isn’t yet a plan for filling the soon-to-be-vacant Orono Middle School principal position.
“The board is going to have to decide how they want to handle that,” Buck said, adding that a special meeting will be scheduled to discuss the board’s options.
Buck said she had no comment on Lucy’s decision to leave.
Lucy will start his new job on July 1.