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Top jobs open Sanford hunting for new high school, tech center leaders

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Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014 1:23 pm | Updated: 1:28 pm, Thu May 1, 2014.

SANFORD - Sanford school administrators are planning the process to replace departing Sanford High School Principal Jed Petsinger and Sanford Regional Technical Center Director Jim Stopa.

Petsinger is leaving to take a job in London, while Stopa has no immediate plans. Both men, who announced their resignations in March, will leave their positions in June.

For the Sanford School Committee and the district’s superintendent, David Theoharides, the resignations came during a challenging budget season, which drew some of the focus away from designing a plan to move forward in finding replacements. School Committee Chairwoman Kendra Williams said the matter was discussed at Monday’s executive session of the committee. 

“We talked about it, and a decision will be made this week on a plan to proceed with job posting,” said Williams. “The superintendent wanted to hear our thoughts and is taking everything into consideration. Our hope is to have people in place before the end of the (school) year so there will be time for some overlap.” 

Petsinger, who has taken a position in London as a middle school principal, has been in his role at Sanford High School for three years. He is moving to be with his wife, an economic policy analyst who is being transferred to England later this year. Petsinger said he “definitely enjoyed” his time in Sanford and wishes he “could have been here longer.”

He hopes that he will be able to spend time with his replacement before he leaves.

“I would love to be able to give my notes, electronic files and everything I have to the person who takes over this position and spend some time with them,” said Petsinger. “I want to make sure everything is in order for them.”

Like Petsinger, Stopa, who took on his role with the technical center in 2010, hopes to provide overlap, but said that decision is up to the “superintendent and the School Committee and what they would like.”

“I will be in the area to help with the transition so the person can start off with training wheels,” he said. “I have been getting things put together and in place so that when I leave I won’t be leaving more work for the next (director), in addition to all that they will need to learn in a new role.”

Stopa, who will remain in the area, said he has no immediate plans.

“I have been focused on the 10-year school review, a federal grant I am writing and the upcoming construction project. My hands have been full,” said Stopa, who also said he has enjoyed his time at the technical center.

“I can say with all honesty that the people I work with here are great. I have never met a more loyal or hard-working group in my career,” said Stopa. “They go the extra mile working with kids and really care about the center. They make sure that we are a learning community that is safe for kids and a positive place for kids to be.”

Williams said that Petsinger and Stopa have laid a good foundation for the schools.

“I really feel they both came in and did their job well and made a real difference while they were here,” said Williams. “I am sorry to see them go, but I am always happy when people are able to move in a direction they want personally. Jim and Jed will leave the schools in a good place that the next person can carry forward. I believe that once the transition is made things will be good. Change is never easy, but it always works out.”

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