UPDATE: Scarborough school chief, board stand firm on high school principal’s resignation

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SCARBOROUGH — Superintendent of Schools Julie Kukenberger this week rejected an attempt by Scarborough High School Principal David Creech to rescind his resignation.

William Michaud, Creech’s attorney, also said the School Board declined Tuesday to meet to discuss Creech’s employment.

Michaud said Creech was told Feb. 15 by Kukenberger that if he did not resign, she would not recommend renewing his contract. Michaud said Wednesday the superintendent still has not provided a specific reason for wanting Creech to resign, other than that he “was no longer a good for fit the district.”

Creech submitted his resignation Feb. 16. Michaud, who was retained by Creech Feb. 22, said the principal rescinded his resignation after a meeting with Kukenberger, School Board Chairwoman Donna Beeley, and the School Department attorney failed to reach a compromise.

An email message to Kukenberger Monday morning was not immediately returned. In an email statement Feb. 19, she said she cannot discuss his decision.

“I understand that this news may be surprising to some of our community members. This a personnel matter, therefore it would be inappropriate for me to discuss the details. Please know that our students’ best interests are always at the center of our work,” Kukenberger said.

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

Eighth-grader Sophia Ouellette stood with friends holding signs of support. She said a good education and supervisors to help foster that is important, and Creech is an effective leader. “We need our opinions heard,” Ouellette said.

Wesley DeCapua, the grandparent of three Scarborough students, said Creech, who has been the high school principal since 2013, cares about the kids, the school and the community. “I’m here to support the principal, the students, and teachers,” he said.

petition urging the School Board not to accept Creech’s resignation is also circulating online.

Creech’s sudden resignation, effective at the end of the school year, came amid renewed discussion about school start times that are scheduled to change in the fall. The School Board adopted the changes last year.

High school students will start at 8:50 a.m. instead of 7:35 a.m.; middle school students at 9 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m., and elementary school students at 8 a.m. instead of 8:20 a.m. and 8:50 a.m.

Creech’s wife, Michele Bellfry Creech, posted on a Facebook page dedicated to resisting the school start time change Feb. 17, asserting Creech was forced to resign. She said Creech has been advised not to make a statement, but said their family has been humbled and overwhelmed by community support.

High school teaching staff requested a meeting with the School Board to discuss Creech’s resignation, but the board declined to meet Feb. 19.

In a letter, staff at the high school said in part, “the teachers at SHS stand united behind David Creech as its principal, now and into the future. Given the overwhelming support from SHS teachers, students, parents and staff for Principal Creech, it is clear that the only acceptable solution to this crisis is for the School Board to reject his resignation.”

Beeley, in an email Feb. 20, said, “While the board appreciates and understands the desire on the part of some (high school) leaders to meet with the Board, it would be inappropriate for the Board to do so. They do, however, have an appropriate process in which to communicate through their union representative.”

At a School Board workshop Feb. 15, teachers’ union President Justin Stebbins said 106 members of the Scarborough Education Association do not support the scheduling change and are dubious about the veracity of the research that has informed the board’s decision.

Members are anxious about the impact of another partially realized plan that will create hardships for many involved, Stebbins said, adding that members overwhelmingly do not support the change.

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

Community members rally for Scarborough High School Principal David Creech Monday, Feb. 26, urging the superintendent not to accept his resignation.

Scarborough eighth-graders Gabby Giftos, left, Katie Roy, Sophia Ouellette and Maddie Russo stand in support of Scarborough High School Principal David Creech Monday morning outside the school.

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