DAYVILLE – Changes are coming to Dayville School District 16J as the school board seeks to replace Superintendent/Principal Debra Gillespie.

In a split decision at a June 26 special board meeting, the school board of directors voted against renewing Gillespie’s contract.

Voting to renew were board chairman Sydney Thompson and Babette Larson, and voting against were Dan Driscoll, Tom Buce and Mary MacArthur.

At the July 10 meeting, the board agreed on a transition employment contract that keeps Gillespie on as superintendent until Oct. 15.

Interviews begin this week to fill the superintendent/principal position, which has been cut from full time to two-thirds time.

Thompson and former chairman Driscoll had no comment on the reason for not renewing the contract.

However, Thompson said she is looking forward to a smooth transition.

“The board appreciates Mrs. Gillespie’s years of leadership at the school,” she added. “She had a dedicated staff and will be missed.”

Gillespie began her tenure at Dayville School District as Maurice Thorne’s assistant superintendent for one year and in 2007 became superintendent/principal.

“I’m leaving the Dayville School District with confidence it is a better place, and I am a better person after being here,” she said, adding, “Being around these kids has given me the ability to appreciate the laughter and not take myself or anything else too seriously.”

Future plans, she said, include spending time with her husband Jim golfing, fishing and spending more time with family.

“Words like courage, persistence, determination, optimism and hope apply to the kids and staff in Dayville as they certainly do in other parts of the world,” she said. “What sets Dayville apart is the fact that we, as a staff, know each kid along with his or her accomplishments and challenges and not only have an obligation but a privilege to help them navigate toward success.”

Her personal motto is a quote from Rumi, “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.”

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