Hundreds support Creech, but Scarborough board won't reconsider resignation

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SCARBOROUGH — High school principal David Creech is weighing his next move after the School Board March 1 declined to let him rescind his resignation.

More than 300 people attended the School Board meeting to show support for Creech, who has claimed he was forced to resign two weeks ago. 

Speakers described a fractured school system and community, and urged transparency, compromise and healing. 

The board ultimately rejected reconsideration of Creech’s resignation after hearing 90 minutes of public comment and meeting for more than an hour in executive session. 

Creech’s attorney, William Michaud, in a statement Friday morning said his client is disappointed by the outcome of the meeting and will consider his options in the coming days. 

At the start of the meeting, Chairwoman Donna Beeley told the public Creech’s resignation was irrevocable.

Michaud said the resignation was coerced, and not voluntary. He said it was the result of a professional dispute, and Superintendent of Schools Julie Kukenberger told Creech if he did not tender his resignation, she would not recommend renewal of his contract. 

Kukenberger has not provided a specific reason for the principal’s resignation, saying it is a private personnel matter. 

Community speculation has been that the resignation is linked to a change in school start times set for the fall. The decision has divided the community, with many asking the board to reconsider its implementation. 

Dozens of people spoke in support of Creech at the March 1 meeting, which had to be moved to Wentworth Elementary School to accommodate the crowd at the Municipal Building. After the meeting, while the School Board was meeting behind closed doors, Creech said community support has been overwhelming, and was the reason he wanted to rescind his resignation. 

“The support and kindness has been unbelievable. I’ve always wanted to be the principal here, and I’ve always felt it’s my job to take care of the students and the staff, and it breaks my heart to know the community is going through this because of me,” he said. 

Resident David Cleary told board members they have a fractured community on their hands, although he saw tremendous unity in the meeting. He asked the board to reconsider Creech’s resignation and said the superintendent and board  members could face a no-confidence vote. 

High school junior Claire Merrill said Creech has impacted her school experience with positivity and support, a sentiment expressed by many students who came to the podium to speak. Several said they were uncomfortable speaking publicly, but felt compelled to do so.

Elizabeth Peters, also a junior, said students were there for Creech because he is there for them. “We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere,” she said. “You have to recognize us.”

Creech, who was hired in 2012, submitted his resignation Feb. 16, effective at the end of this school year. Michaud, who was retained by Creech Feb. 22, said the principal rescinded his resignation after a meeting with Kukenberger, School Board Chairwoman Donna Beeley, and the School Department attorney failed to reach a compromise.

More than 100 students, parents and other residents also rallied for Creech Feb. 26 outside the Municipal Building, chanting “we want Creech” as the students arrived at school.

 Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or at jlaaka@theforecaster.net. 

The standing-room-only crowd at the March 1 Scarborough School Board meeting, where board members decided not to reconsider the resignation of high school Principal David Creech.

Scarborough High School Principal David Creech, left, speaks with community members at the March 1 School Board meeting, where about 300 people came out to support him.

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