The longtime leader of schools in the Old Town area is retiring at the end of this school year, and the local school board is kicking off its search for his replacement this month.

David Walker will step down as superintendent of Regional School Unit 34, which serves Old Town, Alton and Bradley, on June 30, 2022. He will have served 17 years in the position.

Schools have been some of the entities hardest hit by pandemic-driven staffing shortages, but Jim Dill, chair of the RSU 34 board, doesn’t expect the district will encounter any particular difficulty in filling Walker’s position.

RSU 34 Superintendent David Walker helps a remote learning student at the Old Town-Orono YMCA. Credit: Courtesy of Old Town-Orono YMCA

The RSU 34 board will formally decide on how to conduct its search for the next superintendent at its upcoming meeting, said Dill, who also serves as state senator for the area. The board expects to form a search committee and potentially enlist the help of the Maine School Management Association.

“He’s been great for the RSU,” Dill said of Walker. 

Walker told school board members five years ago that he didn’t plan to seek an extension of his contract after its end in 2022.

“It is bittersweet for me to see the process begin,” he said of the search for his replacement. “The board is dedicated. They will be diligent in their efforts to find the next superintendent.” 

Before assuming his current position in 2005, Walker led MSAD 41 — which serves Milo, LaGrange and Brownville — for more than six years. He previously worked as a teacher in both that district and in neighboring MSAD 31, which serves Howland, Enfield, Lowell, Burlington, Edinburg, Maxfield and Passadumkeag.

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...