TOPSHAM — After 15 years with School Administrative District 75, including the past few months as interim principal at Mt. Ararat High School, Donna Brunette will now officially have that job.
The SAD 75 Board of Directors on March 27 unanimously approved hiring Brunette, who previously spent 12 years as an assistant principal at Mt. Ararat Middle School, a year as interim co-principal, and then two years as an assistant principal at the high school.
Craig King, the school’s principal for nine years, stepped down last year to become superintendent of Regional School Unit 10.
A search committee last year picked three finalists for the full-time job. While all candidates had significant experiences and strengths, they lacked the qualities and characteristics sought by the district, Superintendent Brad Smith said at the time.
Brunette was named interim principal for the current school year.
“It was nice to be acknowledged positively and supported at the level that I was last night,” Brunette said the morning after the board’s decision. “It felt like a celebration, which was really nice.”
Being hired as principal “has fulfilled a goal for me,” said the 53-year-old Bowdoin woman, who is married and has two children and one grandchild.
Brunette has spent 25 years in education. Prior to joining SAD 75 she worked in the Lisbon school district, where she was a middle school assistant principal and high school athletic director. She had also previously been a teacher in math and language arts.
Twelve candidates applied this year for the job. Brunette’s initial contract is for one year, with a salary of about $102,200, Smith said.
“As we deal with numerous state and federal initiatives, and the work that lies before us, it is important to have a principal who can organize and lead through collaboration and vision,” Smith wrote after the School Board meeting. “Donna is and will continue to provide that type of leadership at Mt. Ararat.
“The job of any school principal, and particularly that of the high school principal requires a person who is dedicated and passionate about student learning and who can provide the instructional leadership necessary for teachers and other staff,” the superintendent added. “We are fortunate to have her assume this role.”