Eric Haley, superintendent of schools in Waterville, said Monday the assistant principal position at the high school and the principal position at the junior high school have been advertised. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo

WATERVILLE — The Waterville Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve the transfer of Waterville Senior High School Assistant Principal Kim Taylor to the position of principal at George J. Mitchell School.

Taylor has been assistant principal at the high school since just before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020.

School Superintendent Eric Haley said in an interview Friday that Taylor is certified as a principal, served previously as an elementary school principal in Auburn and is a literacy specialist.

“She comes highly recommended,” Haley said, “and she has done a wonderful job at the high school as assistant principal. But her real love is little children.”

Asked to comment on her transfer, Taylor said late Monday she was thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead the charge at George J. Mitchell School.

“While I have been very happy serving the high school as the assistant principal for the past year,” she said, “I’m looking forward to returning to my elementary roots.”

The transfer of Taylor to the Mitchell School was one of four transfers Haley made recently as a result of Mitchell School Principal Allan Martin’s decision to retire at the end of this school year.

Controversy arose after Haley made the administrative transfers, with board member Greg Bazakas insisting the transfers should have been brought to the board.

Haley and board Chairperson Joan Phillips-Sandy apologized, saying they should have notified board members of the transfers before faculty members were told. However, Haley and Phillips-Sandy said superintendents have made transfers without board approval for many years, and the recent transfers were made according to policy.

Haley said Monday the assistant principal position at the high school and the principal’s position at the junior high are being advertised. The junior high assistant principal’s spot will be advertised after a principal for that school is hired. New principals typically want a say in the hiring of assistant principals, according to Haley and others.

After the transfers were decided, some board members, including Bazakas, said they thought the schools’ policy for recruiting and hiring administrators and directors was vague and needed revamping.

Bazakas said at Monday’s meeting that while he believes the administrative transfers were not made according to policy, he would support Taylor’s transfer. An effort to “turn back the clock now would do more harm than good,” he said.

He said he continued to support a policy that is “open, fair and inclusive.”

Phillips-Sandy said she wanted to clarify that, after meeting with legal counsel, the interpretation she and others have of the policy stands. She said she understood Bazakas and others disagree with her.

The board voted 7-0 to approve a new policy for recruiting and hiring of administrative staff and directors. It also voted 4-3 to approve a policy governing administrative procedures for recruiting and hiring, with Bazakas and board members Maryanne Bernier and Spencer Krigbaum dissenting.

Before the final vote on that policy, Bazakas made motions to make changes to it. One of his proposals was to limit the superintendent’s ability to make transfers to temporary positions when there are sudden vacancies. His motion failed 4-3, with Phillips-Sandy and board members Pamela Trinward, Patricia Helm and Elizabeth Bickford voting in opposition.

Bazakas also made a motion to require a 5-2 vote of the board to approve the hiring of an administrator in that situation. The request failed 5-2, with Bazakas and Krigbaum the two who voted for it.

Bazakas’ motion to require a salary range be listed in advertisements for such administrative positions was approved 6-1, with Bernier dissenting.

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