SCARBOROUGH — The Board of Education will lay the groundwork for a superintendent search at its next meeting after Julie Kukenberger announced recently that she won’t seek a contract extension or remain in the position beyond June 30.

Kukenberger’s announcement followed several months of community controversy – much of it focused on her interactions with a principal who resigned – and the recent election of five new board members – four of whom were endorsed by a local group that sought to have Kukenberger fired.

One of the board’s first duties would have been to review Kukenberger’s contract and decide whether to keep her at the helm. Now, with Kukenberger’s contract off the table, she and the head of the seven-member board said they “are moving forward in a positive way.”

Chairwoman Leanne Kazilionis said a subcommittee made up of three board members will be named Dec. 6 to oversee the search for Kukenberger’s replacement. A larger search committee, including school employees, parents, students and other community members, will be named at a later date.

Kazilionis noted the board’s appreciation for Kukenberger’s hard work and many accomplishments during the past two years. She also expressed the board’s commitment to collaborate with Kukenberger over the next several months to oversee the district and create a seamless transition plan.

“I want to make sure that’s the direction we’re going in,” Kazilionis said Tuesday.

Kazilionis declined to provide additional information about the search, such as whether the board might consider hiring an outside agency or consultant to assist in seeking, vetting and interviewing candidates.

“We need to do our due diligence and follow up with what our best practices are,” she said.

Asked whether she thought it might be more difficult to find a new leader for an embattled school district – especially when superintendent searches can be highly competitive under the best of circumstances – Kazilionis said flatly, “No.”

State law required the board to meet in December to consider extending Kukenberger’s contract, which pays a salary of $147,677 for the 2018-19 school year. Still, the board must have a superintendent – interim or permanent – under contract by June 30 for the 2019-20 school year.

A first-time superintendent, Kukenberger announced her planned departure at the inauguration of new board members Nov. 15. She said she made the announcement because the board faces many challenges and its members “need to focus 100 percent of their time on doing what is right for our children.”

She would elaborate little on her decision to leave when her contract runs out.

“I think it’s something everyone in the community will benefit from, including myself,” Kukenberger said Tuesday.

The November election posed an unprecedented challenge for Scarborough voters. Faced with 15 candidates for five seats, they chose Amy Glidden, Alicia Giftos, April Sither, Sarah Leighton and Nick Gill.

Only Leighton wasn’t endorsed by the Road to Renewal group, which formed this year amid an unusual public battle between Kukenberger and former Scarborough High School Principal David Creech. Glidden, Giftos and Sither were founding members of the group.

Creech drew public attention when he resigned suddenly in February. Then he said Kukenberger forced his decision and asked to keep his job, a request the school board denied. Road to Renewal led protests seeking to oust Kukenberger instead of Creech, who left in June and is now interim principal of Winthrop High School.

The group also organized a recall election that ousted three of seven school board members. Now, Kazilionis and Hillory Durgin are the only experienced board members, each with a year in her seat.

Kukenberger said she will help the board navigate a variety of issues in the coming months, including high school grading, contract negotiations and budget development. She wouldn’t say whether she has another job lined up.

“I plan to continue to work hard for (Scarborough) students,” she said. “I imagine my staff will see no difference in my performance day to day.”

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