MOUNT DESERT — Tuesday was Scott McFarland’s last first day of school as principal of Mount Desert Elementary.
Standing on the sidewalk in front of the school, waiting to greet arriving students and their parents, he said it felt “surreal.”
“Part of me can’t help but think how this day will feel next year,” he said. “This will be my 35th year [in education], and it’s hard to believe it’s coming to an end.
This is McFarland’s 14th year as principal in Mount Desert. He announced last spring that it would be his last. He said Monday that he is determined to make it a great one.
“My goal is to have the best professional year I’ve ever had,” he said. “I want to go out strong and make sure this place is in great shape for the next person.”
Asked if he has specific priorities for the year, McFarland said he wants to do whatever he can to reduce the amount of stress that teachers are under.
“I think it’s very difficult these days to be a good teacher,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s fun for them. Not that a job has to be fun, but it has to be rewarding.
“I really want to help them identify the stressors that we can control and maybe do something about.”
McFarland said he has some ideas about what he might do once he is no longer principal, but he has made no decisions.
“I tell everyone it’s a chapter of my life that’s yet to be written,” he said. “But I’ll do something because I like to work and I like to be around people.”
The Mount Desert school committee is expected to begin the search for a successor to McFarland shortly after the first of the year.