BRUNSWICK — The School Department will be welcoming more than just new students in August; two of its schools will be getting new principals, too.
Brunswick High School Principal Shanna Crofton will become the department’s curriculum coordinator Sept. 1, and Martin Mackey, director of the REAL School, will leave the position at the end of the school year after 13 years in different capacities at the school.
Superintendent of Schools Paul Perzanoski announced Crofton’s decision to change jobs in a March 30 letter to the school community. He said Crofton’s decision was based on “significant changes in her life and the birth of her second child.”
Perzanoski went on to say the new position would require fewer night meetings and events for Crofton to attend, compared to being principal.
Perzanoski announced Mackey’s resignation School Board’s March 21 meeting.
He said Mackey is seeking a “more eclectic experience” in his career, and that Brunswick would “love to see (Mackey) stay,” but the principal is looking at positions in other districts.
“He decided we wants to try something different and we’re certainly sorry to have him go,” Perzanoski said.
On April 13, Perzanoski said search committees for both positions have been formed. The committees will review applications, develop questions, decide who to interview and then determine finalists.
“Recently we just hired an assistant principal for (Brunswick Junior High) and had 48 applications, so we are confident that we will obtain a decent pool of candidates,” he said.
Once finalists are chosen by the committees, they will be invited to the schools for a day and feedback will be gathered. One or two of the finalists will interview with Perzanoski, who then will nominate one candidate to interview with the School Board.
The board will vote to accept or reject the superintendent’s nominations.
Perzanoski said expectation is to have principals at work before school starts in late August.
The REAL School, an acronym for Relevant Experiential Authentic Learning, is a public day treatment school at Brunswick Landing.
Mackey has been the school’s principal for three years, and was at the helm during the 30-year-old institution’s transition from Regional School Unit 14, which serves Windham and Raymond, to the Brunswick School Department in 2016.
The School Board’s to take over the REAL School saved it from closing and spurred the school’s move from Falmouth to Brunswick Landing in August 2017.
Before the program was absorbed by Brunswick, Mackey served as the REAL School principal for one year, and was the school’s assistant principal for three years prior to that. He was a teacher prior to becoming assistant principal.
Mackey said he plans to stay in education, and that he’d like to take the skills he’s learned at the REAL School and apply them to “a larger audience.”
He said his decision to leave was “heart wrenching,” but one he felt he needed to make, and that he is very confident about the school staff’s ability to carry on its mission.
“We have fostered a culture of some of the most amazing staff, the most committed, creative, compassionate staff of any school I’ve ever known,” he said. “The REAL School is not a brick-and-mortar institution, it’s more of a mindset and a commitment to doing whatever it takes for students.”
He said his replacement should be comfortable seeing problems as opportunities and approaching them creatively and with curiosity.
Crofton was hired at Brunswick High School after working as head of a secondary school in Mumbai, India. She began her job in July 2014.
She said she has “really enjoyed” her four years as principal, and called the community “incredibly warm and welcoming.”
“As a principal, every day is different and it is difficult to predict what you will need to focus on during any given week. That is something I really enjoy,” she said. “In Brunswick, I have the opportunity to work with an incredibly strong group of faculty, staff and administrators and regardless of the challenges you face, the work is enjoyable because of the support you have surrounding you.”
As curriculum coordinator, Crofton said she will be focusing on assessment, instruction and professional development, in addition to curriculum.
She called the new job an “exciting professional opportunity.”
Perzanoski commended Crofton and Mackey for their work over the years.
“Shanna and Martin are exceptional professionals who have contributed a great deal of service to the district,” he said. “They are wonderful people as well and while we are maintaining Shanna in another capacity, Martin may move out of the district. We have been blessed to have their service.”
Brunswick High School Principal Shanna Crofton will become curriculum coordinator for the School Department Sept. 1.
Martin Mackey, director of the REAL School in Brunswick, will be leaving the role at the end of the year after serving in different capacities there for 13 years.