Bath-area school chief announces retirement

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BATH — Regional School Unit 1 Superintendent William Shuttleworth told the School Board Monday that he will be retiring next June.

Shuttleworth has run RSU 1 since its inception in 2008. Prior to that he was superintendent since 2004 of School Union 47 – then composed of Arrowsic, Georgetown, Phippsburg, West Bath and Woolwich.

He also became superintendent of Bath schools a year before all of those communities – excluding Georgetown, which opted out – joined to become Maine’s first new regional school unit.

“I’m headed toward 64,” Shuttleworth said Tuesday. “I want to do some different things while I’m healthy. I have a lot of other … interests that I want to make sure that I do.”

Those interests include seeing all the national parks, hiking, and woodcutting. “I have all those things that I have passion to do that I just don’t have time to do,” he said.

The Bath resident said he also wants to buy a larger home, a wood lot to replace what he called “a postage stamp-size house.” He said he plans to stay in Maine.

Shuttleworth said this is his 42nd year in public service, beginning with five years spent in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked as a psychologist.

He said he hasn’t missed a day of work in 21 years, “and those days haven’t been eight-hour days … they’ve been day in and day out, (and) weekends.”

Prior to his time in the Bath area, Shuttleworth led School Administrative District 39 in Buckfield from 1999 to 2004; for 17 years before that he was principal of the West School in Portland.

Shuttleworth, who is married and has three children and four grandchildren, said he looks forward to spending more time with his family. That includes a sister, Marian, who lives in his home state of New York and was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

“During that time, I had to cancel a trip with our sister city program, Tsugaru, to support her,” he said in the letter announcing his retirement. “There have been too many other times that I have not been available to support her and her illness has caused me to reflect on my own life, my health and my goals.”

Reflecting on his time as superintendent, Shuttleworth praised the strength of the RSU literacy program, the introduction of a pre-kindergarten program, and the bolstering of the unit’s math program and graduation rate. He also lauded the district’s service to special-needs students.

“I think the structures are in place to continue all of that without my leadership,” he said.

Charles Durfee, chairman of the RSU 1 Board of Directors, said Tuesday that “it’s been a tremendous pleasure … for me to work alongside (Shuttleworth). … He’s a visionary leader, he’s incredibly knowledgeable about education and what it takes to educate children well. I wish him the best, by all means.”

Durfee said he expects the formal search for Shuttleworth’s replacement to begin soon.

Shuttleworth called his job a “mission,” adding that “I don’t regret it. I’ve been privileged to do this work.”

“Some people have a church; I have had a school district,” he said. “And I’ve tried to tend to it with that level of deep-abiding care and respect.”

He said he’ll miss the students the most.

“To see them is really the major joy of why you do this,” Shuttleworth said. “My job would be dreadful if I didn’t see the kids.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.