School Administrative District 59 Superintendent Todd LeRoy plans to step down at the end of June after agreeing with the school board that it is time for a change in leadership in the Madison-based district, he said Thursday.

While the news comes in the same week when Madison Paper Industries, the town’s largest taxpayer, announced it will close the mill in May, laying off 214 people, LeRoy said Thursday his resignation is not related to that.

The board approved a contract extension through 2018 for LeRoy in December and will consider his resignation Monday. LeRoy said his resignation, if approved, will take effect June 30.

On Thursday, LeRoy wouldn’t discuss specifics of his reasons for resigning, but said in an email, “The problem is, when it comes to leadership, it is difficult to change not only leadership style, but also the perception of one’s leadership style.

“Through discussions with the board we came to the mutual understanding that although we have been extremely successful over the past five years it may be time for a change. I had to agree.”

The school board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday at Madison Junior High School.

School board Chairman Bruce Thebarge could not be reached for comment Thursday.

As superintendent, LeRoy guided the district through a number of changes, including the withdrawal of Athens and Brighton Plantation in 2013 and Starks in 2012.

In 2014, a major devaluation in property tax value at Madison Paper Industries forced the district to tighten its budget. Voters were presented with a 4 percent decrease in the budget without cuts to programs or layoffs.

“We had that major devaluation at the mill, so for us to be able to come back to the community with a budget that won’t mean an increase in property taxes is pretty incredible,” LeRoy told the Morning Sentinel at the time.

Board member John Krasnavage would not comment Thursday when asked whether the board and LeRoy have been at odds.

“I can’t go into any of those kinds of things, but I think Todd has really tried to work through some tough issues in this area,” he said.

Krasnavage said the district continues to face financial challenges after the Maine Department of Education released its projections for state funding to local school districts last month, showing that the Madison-based district stands to lose $586,553 in state funding in the 2016- 2017 school year.

“Given the mill closing and the economic situation here, it’s tough,” Krasnavage said.

LeRoy came to the district in 2011 from the Madawaska School Department, where he also was superintendent. Before Madawska, he was a principal in Wisconsin.

LeRoy said he is looking for positions both in and outside of education.

“I will be saddened to leave the incredible teaching staff and even more so my administrative team, as they have been wonderful,” he said. “I will miss the kids, to be sure. I have nothing but respect for the board. They have always been open and honest with me and I am in no way leaving as a disgruntled employee. I am excited to find a new challenge, as education is my life.”

LeRoy said he and his wife plan to stay in Madison. They have a home on Lake Wesserunsett.

School board member Bob Hagopian said LeRoy’s plans to resign came as a surprise.

Hagopian was one of two school board members who voted against renewing LeRoy’s contract in December, but he said his decision had nothing to do with the superintendent’s performance.

“It was just a thing where I didn’t really have time to look over the contract and I felt like it was rushed,” Hagopian said. “I didn’t feel prepared, so I just voted no because I wanted more time.”

In Wisconsin, LeRoy was involved in a lawsuit against his supervisor in the Algoma School District, Superintendent Mark Smits.

Smits and his wife filed for a restraining order against LeRoy in 2003 after LeRoy married a woman with whom Smits had an affair, and Leroy later filed a lawsuit against the Smits alleging defamation. The restraining order was never granted after the Smits failed to make a court appearance, and the defamation suit was dismissed in 2005.

The head of the SAD 59 school board at the time said the lawsuit was a “non-issue” in hiring LeRoy.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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