By Sawyer Loftus, Bangor Daily News Staff

The longtime leader of schools in the Old Town area is retiring at the end of this school year, and the local school board is kicking off its search for his replacement this month.

David Walker will step down as superintendent of Regional School Unit 34, which serves Old Town, Alton and Bradley, on June 30, 2022. He will have served 17 years in the position.

Schools have been some of the entities hardest hit by pandemic-driven staffing shortages, but Jim Dill, chairperson of the RSU 34 board, doesn’t expect the district will encounter any particular difficulty in filling Walker’s position.

The RSU 34 board will formally decide on how to conduct its search for the next superintendent at its upcoming meeting, said Dill, who also serves as state senator for the area. The board expects to form a search committee and potentially enlist the help of the Maine School Management Association.

“He’s been great for the RSU,” Dill said of Walker.

Walker told school board members five years ago that he didn’t plan to seek an extension of his contract after its end in 2022.

“It is bittersweet for me to see the process begin,” he said of the search for his replacement. “The board is dedicated. They will be diligent in their efforts to find the next superintendent.”

Before assuming his current position in 2005, Walker led SAD 41 — which serves Milo, LaGrange and Brownville — for more than six years. He previously worked as a teacher in both that district and in neighboring SAD 31, which serves Howland, Enfield, Lowell, Burlington, Edinburg, Maxfield, and Passadumkeag.