Falmouth High principal gets post at Deering High in Portland

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PORTLAND — The School Board next week is expected to approve the appointment of Falmouth High School Principal Gregg Palmer as principal of Deering High School.

Palmer’s appointment was announced by the School Department July 21.

Deering is Portland’s largest high school, and also has Maine’s most diverse student body.

The School Board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at City Hall to vote on hiring Palmer.

Geoff Bruno, superintendent of Falmouth schools, this week said the search for a new principal at Falmouth High is already underway, and the hope is to have someone in place by the time school starts in September.

Palmer could not be reached for comment.

“I am thrilled to have a candidate of Gregg’s proven mettle step up for the Deering principalship,” Xavier Botana, Portland superintendent of schools, said.

“I am confident that Gregg brings the combination of skills and disposition that will allow us to continue Deering’s positive trajectory,” Botana added. “Deering is a unique setting with enormous potential (and) I believe Gregg recognizes that potential.”

Botana said Palmer’s track record is one of steady improvement and he prizes long-term investment over “quick fixes.”

Botana also said Palmer “is deliberative and inclusive in his approach and will work closely with the Deering family to continue the school’s” growth.

During Palmer’s tenure at Falmouth High, the school achieved the best standardized test scores of any high school in Maine in math and English.

Prior to becoming the principal at Falmouth High in 2010, Palmer was a principal and dean of students in the Searsport school district.

He holds a master’s degree in applied behavioral science in education from Oklahoma State University and a certificate of advanced study in education from the University of Maine.

Deering has an enrollment of about 900 students, according to the Portland School Department.

Among the goals at Deering are ensuring “continuous growth for all learners; giving students the tools of restorative justice … and fighting for equal treatment of all students,” the School Department said.

The selection process included interviews with school staff, forums with students and parents, tours of the school and a final interview with the senior academic leadership from the school district.

Bruno on Monday thanked Palmer for his leadership at Falmouth High.

“His efforts to support the needs of our students and families will be missed. It has been a pleasure working with Gregg and I wish him the best as he embarks on his next professional challenge,” Bruno said. “While the timeline is short, I am confident in our ability to manage this leadership transition effectively and I look forward to finding our next leader.”

In a message to parents and the wider Falmouth community, he said, “We have already started assembling a search team comprised of faculty, district leadership, students, school board members, and parents.

“The position has been posted and applications are already coming in,” he said. “We intend to interview candidates in August and identify finalists prior to the opening of school in September.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.