Hallowell is looking for a new superintendent less than a month after someone else had filled the role.
Matthew Gilbert joined Regional School Unit 2 last fall, quickly working his way up to superintendent on July 1.
He told the staff he’d be leaving 22 days later to become the assistant superintendent at RSU 10 in Rumford — a community he served for two decades.
“I couldn’t have anticipated a quick turnaround like this,” Gilbert said. “But at the same time I didn’t want to ignore the opportunity.”
Parents like Tessa Vellani were hoping Gilbert would bring some stability to the position.
“Initially I just felt really surprised and disappointed because everybody was really excited to have him” Vellani said.
Gilbert is the fifth person to serve in the superintendent position in just three years. Two left for medical reasons, and another was filling in on an interim basis.
“It feels like there’s a bigger issue,” Velani said.
“There’s nothing here that’s pushing me away,” Gilbert said. “It’s really the pull of returning to a district that I have a lot of experiences with.”
Maine School Management Executive Director Steven Bailey said, on average, superintendents stay three years with a district.
He said changes to school boards, other open positions and retirement plans can all factor into a tenure’s length.
“It’s been a very difficult job these past few years,” he said. “It’s not always easy and it does take some time.”
The school board chair said the board will start to come up with a plan of action likely in the next few weeks.
Gilbert will stay on as superintendent in Hallowell until the end of September.