The top choice to become Maine School Administrative District 75’s next superintendent has withdrawn, so the district may turn to an interim leader next year.

MSAD 75 Board of Directors Chair Frank Wright addressed the withdrawal and the status of the search in a May 1 letter to the community.

“A leading, strongly qualified, and enthusiastic candidate was identified with unanimous support from the Board,” Wright said in the letter. “However, for unforeseen personal reasons, the candidate found it necessary to withdraw their application during final negotiations.”

In an email, Wright said the candidate was saddened by having to withdraw and had found the schools welcoming and the community appealing.

The current superintendent, Steven Connolly, will resign effective June 30 after one year in the role.

“Although we continue to look for the right person to permanently lead our district, we are also actively seeking candidates to fill the role in an interim capacity for the 2023-2024 school year,” Wright said in the letter.

The appointment of an interim superintendent will give the board “sufficient time to conduct a thorough hiring process for a permanent superintendent to steward the District for years to come,” Wright said.

Since the retirement of Brad Smith, superintendent from 2011-2018, the district has often relied on interim leadership. Interim Superintendents Dan Chuhta and Bob Lucy split the 2018-19 school year. Shawn Chabot was superintendent in 2019-20 and much of 2020-21 before reporting for active duty as a National Guardsman. Lucy filled in for the rest of 2020-21 and all of 2021-22, then Connolly took over.

“Although the Board very much would have preferred to have identified our next leader by now, we assure the community that we are prioritizing efforts to run a rigorous and deliberative process to identify leaders for MSAD No. 75, both for the upcoming school year and beyond,” Wright said.

The board will give an update on the search at its next meeting, which will take place at Mt. Ararat High School at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 11.