FAIRFIELD — The principal of Lawrence High School has resigned from his job voluntarily, according to the superintendent, in a move that comes shortly after the local school board approved a financial settlement because the principal’s job was scheduled to be eliminated.

Mark Campbell’s resignation took effect Friday, the same day the board of School Administrative District 49 approved financial settlements with him and two other administrators whose jobs are scheduled to be eliminated or restructured by July 1 under a controversial plan introduced by the new superintendent.

Assistant Superintendent Roberta Hersom has been named interim principal at Lawrence High School, effective immediately, Superintendent Reza Namin said in an email Monday.

SAD 49 includes Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

“We wish him the best and thank him for his years of service,” Namin said of Campbell.

Campbell’s resignation comes as his job as high school principal was scheduled to be eliminated by July 1. The job of the Lawrence Junior High School principal, currently held by Sean Boynton, also is scheduled to be eliminated.

Namin has proposed hiring a single principal for grades seven to 12 to replace the two, but he said in his email Monday that he is now recommending the school board put those plans on hold.

“This will allow the new Principal for grades nine-12 during 2019-2020 (to) work with the staff and the superintendent to address the better plan to implement the Principal for grades seven-12 and Dean of Students positions,” he said.

According to his LinkedIn page, Campbell has been a principal in SAD 49 since 2005. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

School board Chairwoman Shelley Rudnicki did not respond to a phone call seeking comment Monday afternoon.

The elimination of Campbell’s job and his subsequent resignation has upset some students, who returned from spring break Monday to learn there was no high school principal.

Carson Hersey, a junior at Lawrence, said he read a news article about the settlements Friday but didn’t understand what it would mean until he saw people posting about Campbell leaving on social media over the weekend.

The terms of the settlements have not been disclosed. Namin said Monday he would release the agreements only after they are finalized at the end of this week.

In addition to Campbell, the school board also authorized settlements with Director of Special Education Cory Rogers, whose job will be restructured and advertised for; and Director of Operations Cheryl Brackett, whose job is being eliminated.

Walking into school Monday and seeing Campbell’s office empty “felt like a ghost town,” said Hersey, of Fairfield.

“Everyone really liked him,” Hersey said. “Even the kids who got into trouble liked him. He genuinely cared about you. He was a principal, but kids who struggled with math, he would help them after school in his office. He knew everyone by name. He was like a big father figure to us.”

He said students were kept “out of the loop completely,” and no announcements were made at Lawrence High School on Monday to address the situation.

Namin, the superintendent, did not respond immediately to a question about whether the situation had been addressed with students, but said he plans to meet with each class as well as the school council.

“We’re the student body and we didn’t even get to say goodbye,” Hersey said. “We have no way of communicating with him. He’s been in our lives for three to four years for the juniors and seniors, and now we’re not going to see him. He’s just gone.”

Hersey said students are planning to hold a peaceful protest Wednesday morning outside Namin’s office to show their support and appreciation for Campbell.

Several students also are planning to protest at Thursday’s school board meeting, where they will wear black as a sign of unity and to mourn the loss of their principal, Hersey said.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Junior High School multi-purpose room.

“It’s really frustrating,” Hersey said. “They’ve kept us out of the loop completely. The teachers and faculty can’t say a lot because they might face repercussions, so that’s why us students are stepping up.”

The restructuring plan, approved by the school board in January, calls for three administrative jobs to be eliminated, five others to be restructured and advertised for, and two new jobs to be added.

Five additional employees will be given new job descriptions and titles.

Namin, who came to SAD 49 from Massachusetts, previously served from 2009 to 2011 as the superintendent of the Westbrook School Department in Maine.

While there, he introduced a similar restructuring plan that the interim superintendent who succeeded him said didn’t work and was undone after his departure.

Namin has told the Morning Sentinel the administrator “was part of a problem I cleaned up” and the restructuring didn’t have time to work in Westbrook, as he was only there for two years.

Asked about the plans in Fairfield, he said Friday restructuring can be difficult and it was not related to the performance of any of the administrators who are receiving settlements.

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