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  • Bangor Daily News

    Bangor school administrators pen scathing letter to outgoing superintendent

    By Valerie Royzman,

    30 days ago

    A group of Bangor administrators penned a scathing letter in response to Superintendent James Tager after he partly blamed his upcoming retirement on resistance from some of them to support his ideas.

    While Tager said last week his June 30 retirement is primarily spurred by his desire to be close to his parents in Florida, he was also pushed by a handful of unnamed administrators who “were against some of the initiatives that I wanted to bring forward,” he said. The initiatives were related to making students of all backgrounds feel accepted, safe and welcome at school, he told the Bangor Daily News .

    This resistance stymied his ability to ensure every student felt cared for and supported, which can ultimately improve attendance, graduation rates and student mental health, Tager said.

    The Association of Bangor School Administrators, in a letter sent Friday by its president, Paul Butler, vehemently opposed Tager’s sentiments, writing that he was dishonest and its members work tirelessly for all students. They made possible the achievements that Tager shared last week, including improved attendance and graduation rates, they wrote.

    The association said if Tager were staying beyond the short time he has left, it would have taken a unanimous vote of no confidence in his leadership.

    “You have engaged in lies and mischaracterizations that seem engineered to elevate your work as being done on an island in a sea of resistance, and that you forged a battle to educate all Bangor students against the opposition of our Association,” the group wrote. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and since you have chosen to make the matter public, so shall we respond in kind, as sunlight is often the best disinfectant.”

    The 20-person association asked in its letter why Tager didn’t address concerns earlier if he felt that certain administrators were hindering the Bangor School Department’s improvement.

    The association, which will “continue to focus on enriching the lives of every student,” welcomes a relationship with the incoming superintendent, Marie Robinson, who will take over July 1 . She most recently led RSU 89 Katahdin Schools in Stacyville.

    “We choose to make ourselves available to all stakeholders,” the group wrote. “We choose to stand on our good work as an association, rather than sullying the work of others. We choose to lead with class, as opposed to leaving with self-righteous and baseless indignation. In short, we expect the best from ourselves; we certainly expected better from you.”

    Ray Phinney, the district’s spokesperson who handles media inquiries, was not immediately able to comment Friday because he had not seen the letter. The association sent it directly to Tager and copied school committee members.

    BDN writer Kathleen O’Brien contributed to this story.

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