BRUNSWICK, Maine — Brunswick Junior High School Principal Walter Wallace has resigned effective April 5, Superintendent Paul Perzanoski confirmed Wednesday.
In a letter dated March 25, 2019, Perzanoski informed the school community that he would appoint an interim administrator this week and would then form a district search committee to review applicants to fill Wallace’s position.
In his resignation letter, dated March 22, 2019, and provided to the Bangor Daily News by Perzanoski, Wallace wrote that he recently obtained his superintendent’s certificate and is “eager to take the next steps in my educational career.”
Wallace’s professional superintendent credential was issued Dec. 31, 2018, and is valid for five years, according to a spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Education.
Wallace has served as principal at the junior high school for more than a decade and in 2015 was named Principal of the Year by the Maine Principals’ Association. Before taking over as junior high school principal, Wallace served as principal of Coffin Elementary School in town. In all, he worked as an administrator in Brunswick for roughly 15 years.
In 2015, the Brunswick school department settled a lawsuit filed by a former Brunswick Junior High School student and the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging the student was sexually assaulted in the school’s bathroom.
In the lawsuit, the family of the former student accused the town, the school district and Wallace of violating his civil rights while he was a student there. The suit specifically alleged that Wallace failed to respond adequately to the student’s repeated complaints and acted “with actual malice and reckless indifference to the federally protected civil rights” of the student and the student’s mother, who filed the suit.
The suit alleged that the school administration failed to protect the student from repeated physical and sexual assault and bullying.
The case against Wallace was dismissed with prejudice following a joint stipulation by both parties, meaning charges cannot be reinstated.
Perzanoski said in July 2015 that the school’s investigation found that “Mr. Wallace handled [the situation] with skill and sensitivity as required by law and our policies.”
On Wednesday, Perzanoski declined to comment further on Wallace’s resignation, saying in an email to the Bangor Daily News that Wallace’s letter “should suffice.”
Later Wednesday, Perzanoski announced that Mandy Lewis, who has served as assistant principal of the junior high school, will assume the duties of interim principal beginning April 8.
Retired assistant principal Lisa Cushman will return to her former role during April vacation and will be in place from April 22 until the end of the school year, Perzanoski said.
“It is my sincere belief that we are in good hands administratively at BJHS as we move to the last quarter of the 2018-2019 school year,” Perzanoski wrote in a letter to the school community.
The school system also is seeking a new assistant superintendent to succeed Pender Makin, who now serves as Maine’s education commissioner. Perzanoski said Wednesday he hopes to present a candidate to the school board at its April 10 meeting.