UPDATE: SAD 75 interim school chief gets state post; district resumes search for permanent superintendent

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TOPSHAM — Dan Chuhta will leave his job as interim superintendent of School Administrative District 75 to become the state’s deputy commissioner of education, he announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the district has relaunched its search for a permanent superintendent, with hope of filling the position this spring.

Chuhta, hired as assistant superintendent in 2012, wrote at link75.org that it had “truly been an honor and a privilege to be part of the (SAD 75) community. I have grown professionally, had the opportunity to meet many amazing people, and was able to work alongside so many talented and dedicated colleagues.”

Chuhta’s final day will be Feb. 15. Peg Armstrong has been serving as interim assistant superintendent during his time as interim superintendent.

An accompanying message from the SAD 75 Board of Directors noted that the district will have to appoint another interim superintendent, since it had just begun its search for a permanent school chief.

“While this is not ideal, we have confidence in our district office and building administrators to work together in order to keep us moving forward during this transition,” the board stated.

Another assistant superintendent from the area, Pender Makin of the Brunswick School Department, has been tapped as commissioner of the Department of Education.

Superintendent of Schools Brad Smith announced his retirement in March 2018, effective June 30. The School Board conducted an initial search for Smith’s replacement last spring, but decided in June to appoint Chuhta as interim school chief.

Former Chairwoman Holly Kopp said at the time that the board decided to appoint an interim superintendent “to avoid any rushed decisions.”

The district posted the vacancy earlier this month, and on Jan. 10 the board appointed Chairwoman Kim Totten of Bowdoin, and members Rachel Tome of Bowdoinham, David Johnson of Harpswell and Jane Scease of Topsham to the interview committee.

That panel will also include SAD 75’s special services and human services directors, business manager, a law enforcement representative, elementary and secondary-level principals, and a teacher or teacher representative from the elementary, middle and high schools.

According to a tentative deadline, the district hopes to have applications by mid-February, and to select candidates by late February. Interviews will be conducted in March, and an employment offer could be made in mid-March.

The new superintendent would begin employment July 1.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 ext. 113 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019.

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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.