For five years, as the athletic director and assistant principal at Gardiner Area High School, Steve Ouellette worked the long days and nights that came with both jobs. There were punch-ins at 7 a.m., and he wasn’t punching out until 8, 9, or even 10 p.m.

This year, he decided he’d had enough. After making his decision official in May, Ouellette retired at the end of the school year. Former Carrabec athletic director Nate Stubbert takes his place at the head of Gardiner athletics.

“I made a decision in late spring that I was tired,” Ouellette, 60, said. “It was one of those situations for me where I was at a point where I said ‘I could do this,’ I thought about it, talked to my wife and we decided that the time had come to look at doing something different.”

“Steve was here for five years and did a fantastic job for us,” Gardiner principal Chad Kempton said. “He’s great to work with, very knowledgeable in regards to athletics and coaching and facility management, game management, you name it. He did a great job and we were very fortunate to have him.”

Ouellette, however, stressed that while he’s leaving the job, he’s not sure what his working status will be going forward.

“I don’t know if I consider this retirement, I consider it time to make a change and find something different to do,” he said. “I’ve been an educator for 37 years, and I’d like to see if there’s anything else out there that I might have some interest in.”

If it is Ouellette’s farewell, though, it caps a long career in the high school sports scene. A Winthrop resident, he was the athletic director at Monmouth Academy for seven years prior to landing at Gardiner, and was also in the athletic administration at Lawrence and a baseball and football coach and teacher for 17 years at Livermore Falls High School.

“I definitely worked with a lot of great people, a lot of great coaches, a lot of great kids,” he said. “(It’s) about building relationships, and in education, any type of job that you hold, you’re building relationships with adults and especially kids that can be lifelong and very rewarding. … I hope I’ve had the opportunity to shape lives in a positive manner.”

This year, Ouellette said the demands of the job were hard to ignore.

“I just wanted to have more time,” he said. “The job that I’ve done for the last five and a half years was seven in the morning to sometimes 7, 8, 9 o’clock at night, five to six days a week. … It was just time to make that change.”

Now, Ouellette says he’s looking forward to finding his next endeavor, while enjoying the lack of urgency to do so.

“I’ve talked to other athletic directors that have done (this), and it’s a matter of finding something to do to keep yourself busy,” he said. “I play a lot of golf and do some different things, but right now (I’m going to) relax and enjoy the summer and see what else is out there.”

To take his place, Gardiner went with another Winthrop resident. Stubbert, 47, a Waterville alum who had served as the athletic director at Carrabec since August 2016 and Wiscasset before that, has a son that plays in the Gardiner-based Gold Ball basketball program, and heard from others in the community that Ouellette was considering leaving.

“It was a position I had my eye on for a while,” he said. “When it finally posted, I applied immediately.”

It was a quick process, with Stubbert going for an interview on a Friday in May and then being hired on the following Wednesday.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for myself, and I think a great opportunity for Gardiner as well.”

Stubbert will be the athletic director, but his overall title is a new one. While Ouellette was the assistant principal, Stubbert will be the adult education director in addition to the head of athletics.

“He’s going to have a busy schedule,” Kempton said. “Fortunately, the majority of it is mid-morning through evening, versus an assistant principal that’s here early in the morning and ends up staying late in the evening to cover games.”

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” Stubbert said. “This is a newly-created position, and I think there are a lot of question marks for everybody.”

Stubbert will also have more on his plate on the sports side alone.

“It’s certainly a much bigger school,” he said. “Carrabec was pretty limited in what they had for sports. They had traditional sports, and that was pretty much it. Now I’m going to be introduced to women’s ice hockey and volleyball and football, which Carrabec didn’t have.

“I’m very excited, and I’m ready to get going.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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