MOUNT DESERT — Scott McFarland, principal of Mount Desert Elementary School for the past 12 years, will leave that post at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.
McFarland announced his intention to resign in a Jan. 29 letter to members of the school committee.
“Though it seems early to announce this, I needed to make this decision for myself, avoid rumors of when I would be getting done and to give all of you the proper advanced notice so that planning can take place to find my replacement,” McFarland said.
His current two-year contract runs until the end of the next school year. He said he made the decision to ask the school committee not to renew the contract “with great difficulty,” but he feels it is best for both himself and the school.
“I love this school community, and so I leave everyone with a sense of pride and satisfaction as well as a plethora of fond memories that will feed me for many years.”
Howard Colter, superintendent of the MDI Regional School system, said of McFarland, “We’re going to miss him a great deal. I think the world of Scott.”
Colter said he would lead the search for a new principal for Mount Desert Elementary, probably starting about this time next year.
“I will involve board members, teachers and parents in the process,” he said. “And there will be an opportunity for students to meet the people who are being seen as finalists and to give us their reactions to them.”
Colter said that given the reputation of the school and the community, he expects the job to attract a number of highly qualified candidates.
“I don’t see a shortage of strong applications for that job,” he said.
McFarland said he intends to continue working after leaving the principal’s post. “But after 35 years in education, I am not sure that it will be in an education-related field.”
He began his career in education as a physical education and health teacher at MDI High School in 1981. After a few years, he began teaching science and later became chairman of the science department. He was vice principal at the high school for two years before being hired as principal at Mount Desert Elementary in 2002.
In addition to serving as the elementary school principal, McFarland is an active member of the community. He is finishing his sixth and final year as president of the board of directors of the Neighborhood House community center in Northeast Harbor. He is a member of the Northeast Harbor Library board and a former member of the Camp Beech Cliff board.