Superintendent Steve Nolan said Nov. 17 he cannot confirm or deny Medomak Valley High School Principal Andrew Cavanaugh's absence over the course of the last couple of weeks.

"Our highest priority, as always, is the safety and well-being of our students," Nolan said.

This follows closed-door sessions at the Regional School Unit 40 Board of Directors meeting Nov. 16, which resulted in a unanimous vote to "hold a dismissal hearing pursuant to Maine law at a date to be scheduled by the board chair, and that the superintendent provide notice of the hearing and date to the employee and his representative."

Nolan said he cannot discuss personnel matters, and is not at liberty to answer specific questions.

The board first met with legal counsel from Drummond Woodsum to discuss the legal rights and duties of the School Board, then to address a personnel issue.

When the board came out of executive session, it immediately announced the motion and took a vote before attendees reentered the room.

"The motion is part of the record," Nolan said., "It was clumsy how that happened."

For approximately the last two weeks, Cavanaugh has not been in the building without any explanation given.

"Nothing that I remember has ever been so hush-hush," said one observer.

Cavanaugh took over the lead role at MVHS in 2015, after longtime Principal Harold Wilson retired due to illness. Wilson and Ronald Dolloff were the two longest-serving principals at MVHS. Dolloff's daughter, Linda Dolloff Pease, presently serves as one of the school's two assistant principals.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.