AUGUSTA

April 18, 2012

St. Michael principal planning to step down

By Keith Edwards kedwards@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- St. Michael School Principal Jon Caron has submitted his resignation, effective at the end of the school year, after an unspecified disagreement with school officials.

Caron said in a letter to parents that he was finding the position he's held for the last four years had become increasingly demanding of him and he felt "the leadership of the school will be better served by an individual who can devote the time needed to help the school continue to move forward."

Or, as he put it in interview Tuesday when reached at home during school vacation week: "I'm feeling a bit burnt out."

The Rev. Francis Morin, administrator of St. Michael's Parish, said Caron was not asked specifically to resign, but "he was asked to consider it" because of a professional issue, which he declined to discuss.

"It's a professional issue, between him and myself and the school board," Caron said. "It was nothing illegal -- a professional issue we had a big difference of opinion about."

Caron said resigning was a hard decision he made after talking with his wife and Morin, who accepted his resignation recently.

Caron said he will miss the staff and students of the private Catholic school in Augusta, as well as students' families.

"Certainly, for me, it is difficult to put your heart and soul into a position, then say, 'Hmm, do I want to continue here or do I move on?'" said Caron, who lives in Manchester with his wife, Kerry, and their two children. "I've certainly enjoyed it. I love the families and everyone there, so I was sad to let folks know. I developed a lot of friendships, and the staff here works hard to go ahead and keep the program thriving and being successful. I'll miss that."

Morin said other than the professional difference, he felt Caron was an easy person to work with and he had done a good job at the school over the last four years.

Morin said he hopes to have a new principal selected by the end of the school year, so the new person will have the summer to "get their feet wet" in the school. He said he planned to meet this week with Sister Rosemary T. Donohue, superintendent of schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine, and the school board next week, to discuss the process of hiring a new principal.

Donohue could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Caron said he plans to look into obtaining another school administration position in Maine.

Caron, the former principal of Union Elementary School and assistant principal of D.R. Gaul Middle School, also in Union, was hired in 2008 to take over the pre-kindergarten-to-grade-eight school after the retirement of Sister Rachel Boucher.

Caron, who is in his early 40s, is a man of faith -- but unlike Boucher, not a member of a religious order.

St. Michael has 236 students this year, Morin said. That's down from 270 students who attended the school in 2010-2011, and 321 in 2008-2009, according to state Department of Education data.

In 2007, two Augusta Catholic schools -- St. Augustine and St. Mary's -- merged into one, St. Michael School.

Keith Edwards -- 621-5647

kedwards@centralmaine.com

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