A Topsham representative on the School Administrative District 75 school board has announced his resignation, the third departure from the board in just under three months.

Matthew Drewette-Card announced plans to resign in an April letter to the school district. He asked to step down effective July 1.

“I am resigning from the board for personal, family and professional reasons,” the letter states. “My resignation is not related to any of the tumultuous or challenging events that have affected the school board over the (past) months. I have been pondering this action since last fall, and have decided that I cannot continue to give the board, district, students and educators the time, focus, attention and commitment they deserve due to my many personal, family, and professional commitments and obligations.”

He told The Times Record on Tuesday that he  works 90 minutes away as the curriculum coordinator for another school district, leaving him stretched very thin. His two children are older now, as one is about to go into the middle school and the other is in first grade.

“So things are getting really busy at home and I have family needs,” he said. “It’s just a matter of prioritization.”

His announcement follows a shakeup of leadership in the school district and on the 14-member school board in recent months, which Drewette-Card declined to comment on Tuesday.

Harpswell representatives and longtime board members Joanne Rogers and David Johnson resigned from the school board Feb. 8, stating they no longer have the trust of the board and shouldn’t continue to serve.

Matthew Drewette-Card Darcie Moore/Times Record

On Feb. 28, the school board ousted its chairwoman, Kim Totten of Bowdoin, who had served on the school board 14 years. The board then elected Tyler Washburn, also of Bowdoin, as its new chair. Two parents in the district had circulated a petition calling for Totten’s removal as chair.

The district’s former superintendent, Brad Smith, retired in June 2018. The district’s assistant superintendent at the time, Dan Chuhta, was tapped to serve as interim superintendent and was set to replace Smith before leaving Feb. 15 to become Maine’s deputy education commissioner.

Bob Lucy was then hired as the interim superintendent, and the school board ultimately appointed Shawn Chabot as its new superintendent effective July 1. Peg Armstrong is serving as the interim assistant superintendent and the hiring process to permanently fill that position is ongoing.

Given the two board resignations in February, Drewette-Card said he recognizes the perception his resignation could have, which is why he emphasized that the recent turmoil in the district had nothing to do with his decision to step down.

“I support what the district is doing and I support what the school board is doing,” Drewette-Card said.

Topsham selectmen will consider whether to accept Drewette-Card’s resignation when they meet Thursday night. The selectmen also will need to declare a vacancy, and appoint someone to fill the school board seat from July 1 until the November election, when voters can elect a new board member.

Linda Dumont, Topsham’s town clerk, said nomination papers for the remaining year of Drewette-Card’s three-year term will be available starting July 29. Drewette-Card’s term expires November 2020.

Drewette-Card added that he’s valued his time on the school board, and may consider running for the school board again in the future.

 

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