Sherburne, who violated nepotism policy, given $40K severance package
BUXTON — MSAD 6 Superintendent of Schools Frank Sherburne resigned Monday on the heels of controversy that included violation of the district’s nepotism policy in the hiring of his son, who has been charged with having sex with an underage student that he met while working at another school district.
After a lengthy executive session, the School Board voted to accept Sherburne’s resignation around 11:15 p.m. Monday.
Sherburne, whose five-year contract was to due to expire June 30, 2019, was given a $40,000 severance package.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Michael Roy was appointed the interim superintendent.
“We believe that it is in the best interest of our school district, its employees, its students and the community at large to finally resolve this matter as soon as possible,” said School Board Chairwoman Rebecca Bowley.
“The severance agreement that we negotiated with the superintendent will avoid a protracted legal battle with associated legal costs and divisiveness, and will bring closure to this matter and allow the board to turn its attention on to important issues facing our district,” she said.
MSAD 6 includes Buxton, Hollis, Standish, Limington and Frye Island.
Last week, the School Board voted that the district’s nepotism policy was violated when Sherburne’s son, Zachariah Sherburne, was hired as an educational technician at Buxton Central Elementary. Zachariah Sherburne, 23, worked at the school from Feb. 8 through March 11.
On March 11, MSAD 6 was notified by the Department of Health and Human Services that Zachariah Sherburne allegedly had a sexual encounter with a student from Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram on Feb. 12, according to an investigation conducted by law firm Drummond, Woodsum and MacMahon in conjunction with School Board members Paul Mosley and Cindy Meserve. Hiram is part of another school district, MSAD 55.
Zachariah Sherburne was indicted in April on felony sex charges after he allegedly had sex with the 16-year-old girl and got her pregnant. According to court documents, he befriended the girl while working in MSAD 55 as an educational technician at Sacopee Valley High, and began seeing her outside of school.
According to the investigation, Zachariah Sherburne’s application for state authorization was incomplete because he had turned in unofficial college transcripts with his paperwork, and was thus hired at MSAD 6 without proper state credentials, which is a violation of state law. As a result, the school district could lose state funding associated with the position.
Bowley said Monday it was time for the board to take care of the students in the Class of 2016, who had worked hard and deserved to graduate without controversy.
“I look forward to moving this district forward and getting past this, because the community and our district needs a lot of healing right now, and we have a lot of work to accomplish between now and the end of the year,” Roy said after the meeting.
Sherburne, who did not return with the board to the public meeting after the executive session, was unavailable for comment.
Parent Amanda Cooper, who had filed a complaint with the Department of Education against MSAD 6 and MSAD 55 for failing to follow state law, was one of a number of community members who stayed nearly 5 1/2 hours to the end of Monday night’s meeting.
She said the board’s decision Monday was in the best interest of the children of the district.
According to a biography on the district’s webpage, Sherburne has more than 20 years of experience in the field of education. He was hired as the superintendent of MSAD 6 in 2011. Prior to that, he was superintendent of schools for RSU 57.
Sherburne also served as special education director for SAU 13 and RSU 57, and was a teacher of the deaf at Deerfield Public School in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, and at the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth.
— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.