School Administrative District 75 Superintendent Brad Smith to retire July 1

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TOPSHAM — Brad Smith, superintendent of School Administrative District 75 since 2011, plans to retire July 1.

The 65-year-old Portland resident said in an interview Friday that “I’m healthy, and happy doing what I’m doing, but as 66 approaches I want to be able to spend that time with my wife and our adult kids.”

The district, which operates eight schools in Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham, hired Smith as assistant superintendent in October 2010; he replaced Mike Wilhelm as schools chief the following May.

Smith has spend 30 years in education, first as a teacher and then as an administrator in Washington State. He was later principal of the Narragansett Elementary School and White Rock Elementary School in Gorham, where he also assisted the superintendent on special projects.

Smith said he will most miss the people in the SAD 75 community – the parents who are active with school issues, and the students he has had since the time he was a building administrator.

“We have a marvelous staff (that is) so caring and dedicated,” he said. “It truly is going to be the hardest thing about leaving, is the people.”

Holly Kopp, chairwoman of the SAD 75 Board of Directors, returned Smith’s praise in an interview Friday.

“He has been an absolute pleasure to work with,” she said. “I have all the confidence in the world in (Smith) and his leadership of our district.”

Smith has “really left his mark,” particularly when it comes to emergency planning and coordinating with local law enforcement, Kopp added, noting that “before Brad, our doors weren’t locked at our schools.”

The School Board will likely contact the Maine School Management Association as it starts the search process for Smith’s replacement. If a new school chief is not found by July 1, the district may choose an interim superintendent to fill the role, Smith said.

Once that day hits, he plans to do some traveling, and to enjoy Maine’s natural assets.

“I’d like to be able to enjoy some of the water around Maine; I mean, people come to Maine to vacation, for crying out loud,” he said.

Planning behind a new Mt. Ararat High School has been one of Smith’s more important tasks as superintendent, and he plans not to be far away when its doors open in fall 2020.

“That’s really been a heavy factor pulling at me with this decision,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of time and energy into getting the high school project so close to construction. I want to be close enough so that I can keep tabs on the project as it moves forward.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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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.