Conners Emerson principal to retire at year’s end

BAR HARBOR — Barbara Neilly will step down as Conners Emerson School principal on Dec. 31, citing family medical reasons. 

“I have received a letter from Barb that she’s going to be retiring,” said Bar Harbor School Committee Chair Alexandra Simis at a school committee meeting on Monday. 

Neilly’s letter explained that she will not be able to manage her family’s ongoing medical challenges while also leading the Conners Emerson School. Assistant Principal Heather Webster has acted as interim/active principal since September, which was when Neilly took family medical leave. 

Neilly has been principal of the school for the past 29 years, and she said it has been a privilege to serve the Conners Emerson students. 

“I’m just going to say it feels kind of sad with these retirements coming through during COVID,” said school committee member Marie Yarborough. “A lot of teachers have chosen to resign during this time and it feels really hollow, especially for someone who has been here for years. It would be nice if we could do some sort of acknowledgement for Barb.”  

Simis read a letter from a Conners Emerson parent who expressed gratitude for Neilly’s service. Simis added, “I also just want to say I wish Barb the best.” 

Webster will continue to serve as acting principal for the remainder of the school year. The school committee will announce the position for principal in late winter. 

“I have had the good fortune of working with extraordinarily talented teachers and support staff during my tenure,” said Neilly, who added that the school will continue to strive for the excellence for which it is known.  

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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