ELLSWORTH — Superintendent Daniel Higgins resigned his position from the Ellsworth School District, effective immediately. The surprise announcement came at the Dec. 14 School Board meeting, where his absence at the head of the table was notable. Some members fought back tears as Chairwoman Kelly McKenney read Higgins’s letter to the board.
“Please accept this letter as my resignation from my position as superintendent of Ellsworth School District, effective immediately. After a great deal of thought, consideration and discussion, my wife and I have decided that my resignation will allow me to focus on personal and family health, wellness and medical issues that require my immediate attention.”
The board voted unanimously to accept his resignation.
Higgins noted that he will help with the transition as he is able to.
“Mr. Higgins’s resignation is a huge loss to our school and community,” Chairwoman Kelly McKenney said. “He did an amazing job helping to recreate the Ellsworth School Department after we separated from the RSU. We have been truly blessed to have Mr. Higgins at the helm. He has always puts what’s best for our kids and schools first.”
The board then approved Katrina Kane as interim superintendent in another unanimous vote. Kane, a part-time superintendent for Lamoine and Hancock, shares space in the Ellsworth school district office and has served as a city teacher, curriculum coordinator and director of Hancock County Technical Center. She previously served as interim superintendent for Ellsworth schools in 2009.
“Katrina is no stranger to the Ellsworth School District,” McKenney said. “[Kane] seems like a natural fit.”
Higgins has served as superintendent since 2014, when Ellsworth schools split from Regional School Unit 24. A graduate of Ellsworth High School, he coached, taught and served as an administrator at city schools in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2006, he assumed the superintendent position in Regional School Unit 64, based in Corinth, before accepting the superintendent role in Ellsworth eight years later.
He expressed gratitude for members of the school department and greater Ellsworth community in his resignation letter:
“I have had the pleasure of working with and express appreciation to the many board members, administrators, teachers and support staff for their tremendous dedication to serving the best interests of our community’s children and providing them with the highest quality academic and co- and extra-curricular experiences possible. Those efforts have produced amazing results for our children and resulted in the continued growth and improvement of our school system.
“I would also like to thank the many members of the city council, city managers, police and fire chiefs, public works directors and all city staff members for their collective efforts and support of our schools over the years.”
He also expressed appreciation for local business and nonprofit support that helped the district “fulfill its vision and mission.”
“Since 2014, the city and school board renewed and revitalized a strong partnership and have worked together towards the ongoing economic growth and development of our community, with noticeable success [while] keeping our schools healthy and safe.”