Mascenic principal will not be back next year

NEW IPSWICH — School district officials confirmed Wednesday that Mascenic Regional High School Principal Trevor Courtney will not return next school year, though it remains unclear whether he was let go or if he resigned.

Interim Superintendent Betsey Cox-Buteau said in an interview Wednesday that the district will make an official announcement on Friday or Monday. At that time, the search for a new principal will begin.

Courtney will continue in his position as Mascenic’s principal until June 30, said Cox-Buteau. “We do expect that he will fulfill the remainder of his contract,” she said. The school will be seeking a permanent principal, and not an interim replacement, she said.

Ruthann Goguin, who was recently named as the district superintendent and will take the helm on June 30 after fulfilling her obligations as the executive director at Hill View Montessori School, will be heavily involved in the hiring process, said Cox-Buteau.

“I think that involving the incoming superintendent in the process is going to help a great deal,” said Cox-Buteau. “I’m sure she’ll be looking for a person that will help to progress the district in a way she feels is beneficial.”

The position has been posted on School Spring, an online source for educational position postings. The district is seeking an administrator with three to five years of school administrative experience, with experience with vocational programs and technology. The district will be offering pay that is commiserate with the candidate’s experience and locally competitive, said Cox-Buteau. Courtney is currently paid a yearly salary of $81,600, including benefits.

Cox-Buteau declined to comment on the nature of Courtney’s departure. “It is a personnel matter, and I’m not at liberty to discuss personnel matters with the public,” she said. Cox-Buteau said she could not comment on whether Courtney had submitted a resignation letter to the district, and she said she is unaware whether Courtney has accepted a position with another school district.

After rumors of Courtney’s departure began to surface, some parents began an online petition through Facebook.com, started by parent Deborah Holmes. Holmes said she had inquired about Courtney’s departure both to Courtney and to Cox-Buteau, though neither would disclose the reason for his exit.

“Mr. Courtney is one of the most kind, caring, involved principals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” reads the petition. “I believe that he should remain principal at Mascenic High School and I would like to petition the school board.” Holmes also started a Facebook group entitled “Save Mr. Courtney.”

“If he did resign, more power to him and good luck,” said Holmes in an interview Wednesday.

Holmes said her daughter, a current student at Mascenic High School, was distraught over Courtney’s departure. Holmes herself said she found Courtney to be a very invested administrator, and would hate to see him leave the district. In fact, she said, she had enrolled her older son in St. Bernard’s High School prior to Courtney’s installment three years ago because she was wary of the past administration.

“I just think he’s been a wonderful principal. He’s been so responsive to any concern I’ve had, and my daughter adores him,” said Holmes. “I see him at all of the basketball games, and the amount of investment he has in the students just touches me. My daughter absolutely loves it at Mascenic, and I hope she has Mr. Courtney for her final year there.”

School Board Chair Tara Sousa and Cox-Buteau both confirmed that they had received copies of the petition.

“I am aware and the School Board is aware as well,” said Cox-Buteau. “Everyone has a right to give their opinions and address the board, and we don’t want to do anything to stand in the way of that and I respect that.” At this point, though, the district still plans to move forward with seeking a replacement for Courtney, she added.

Sousa referred all questions to Cox-Buteau.

Calls to Courtney and to Goguin were not returned by press time Wednesday. The Mascenic Regional School Board is scheduled to meet on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Mascenic Education Center in Greenville.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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