Embattled Superintendent Resigns Amid Nepotism Complaints

May 17, 2016

Embattled SAD 6 Superintendent Frank Sherburne resigned Monday night after weeks of heavy criticism over apparent nepotism violations.

For weeks, parents in Maine School Administrative District 6 have been clamoring for Sherburne to leave his post. It all started earlier this month, when Sherburne’s son — who was hired as an education technician within the district — was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager in another district.

Then, the state Department of Education said that Sherburne’s son hadn’t received the proper credentials to work in the classroom and also hadn’t undergone a state background check.

Last week, the SAD 6 school board ruled that all of that added up to violating the district’s nepotism policies. However, it decided not to discipline the superintendent.

Many parents weren’t happy about that. One parent, Amanda Cooper, even filed a formal complaint with the state Department of Education last week asking the state to launch its own investigation. She talked about it in an interview last week.

“I’m an educator,” she said. “And I shouldn’t have to explain to my 8-year-old who that man is, why he’s on television, and why he was in that classroom.”

During a school board meeting on Monday night, Cooper and others finally got what they wanted.

After hours of closed-door meetings, SAD 6 board chair Rebecca Bowley emerged with an agreement the board had reached with Sherburne. The superintendent would resign and receive a $40,000 severance package. Bowley said it was a good deal, and a way to help the district move past the incident quickly.

“The severance agreement we negotiated with the superintendent will avoid a legal battle with associated legal costs and decisiveness, and will bring closure to this matter and allow the board to turn its attention to other issues facing this district,” she said.

The board agreed and voted for the agreement, and many in the audience also applauded the move.

As for new leadership, the district has already appointed a new acting superintendent. Assistant Superintendent Michael Roy took over the post Monday night.

The Maine Department of Education declined to comment for this story.