Steven Connolly addresses the Maine School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors during a meeting at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham on Thursday, April 14. (J.W. OLIVER PHOTO)

Steven B. Connolly will serve as the next superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 75. He brings more than 40 years of experience in Maine schools, many as a superintendent and principal in Southern Maine.

The MSAD 75 Board of Directors voted 14-0 to appoint Connolly on Thursday, April 14, approving a two-year contract with a first-year salary of $145,000. He will start work July 1.

Connolly, of Gorham, most recently worked for the Maine Department of Education at its Maine School Safety Center. From 2012-2020, he was superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 60, which includes the towns of Berwick, Lebanon and North Berwick in York County.

His quarter-century as an administrator includes stints as principal of Cape Elizabeth Middle School, Portland’s Baxter Elementary School, Saco’s Young School and Scarborough’s Pleasant Hill Primary School, as well as assistant principal of Portland High School.

Connolly also has 17 years of experience as a teacher, mostly at Cape Elizabeth Middle School. He has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from St. Joseph’s College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern Maine.

In MSAD 75, Connolly will replace interim Superintendent Bob Lucy. The transition will be the fifth for the district in four years.

Before the vote on the appointment, board Chair Holly J.P. Kopp said that Connolly has a reputation for putting students first.

“Many noted his visibility and accessibility to students and staff in all schools,” Kopp said. “He takes considerable pride in developing relationships within the district, and he regularly attends student events at all levels. Mr. Connolly has been described as the best cheerleader a school could ask for.”

“As an educational leader, Mr. Connolly has been referred to as collaborative, creative and leading with a team mentality,” Kopp added. “He relates well with employees at all levels of the district due to his vast experience in several roles. He’s known for his financial astuteness, his ability to relate well with staff and students, and his ability to use data and set goals to maximize student growth.”

Connolly thanked the board after the vote.

“I am so thrilled for this opportunity,” he said. “I feel like my previous experience in MSAD 60 has so many similarities and crossovers and I feel really well suited for this position.”

During a brief interview outside the meeting, Connolly said that he grew up in Scarborough and Westbrook. Education runs in the family: His father was his elementary school principal and his mother was his second grade teacher. Five aunts and three uncles worked in education.

Connolly spent the last several months enjoying time with family and working in his woodshop, but discovered that he was not ready for retirement. “I have no intention of folding up shop anywhere in the near future,” he said.

“I feel that this is going to be a great match,” he added.

MSAD 75 includes the towns of Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham.