Having served as principal at Mount View High School for more than six years, Lynda Letteney is easily recognized as she travels through the school.

Students go out of their way to greet her as she walks the halls, and she stops to chat in the cafeteria. When a students asks her to sign a form, she explains in detail what else is needed.

To a visitor, the school’s main office looks like a revolving door of people, with both teachers and students coming and going. Tests need to be made up, and Letteney hands a teacher a testing schedule for absent students, who will make up the test in the cafeteria around their lunch schedules.

Next year, students and staff will have to manage all of this without Letteney, as she submitted her resignation to the RSU 3 school board Monday, Feb. 14.

“It’s time,” Letteney said in an interview Monday morning, regarding her decision to retire. “I think I’ve done a lot of positive things for the school while I have been here.”

Letteney’s career in education has spanned 38 years. She spent much of her teaching career — 27 years of it — at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro before moving on to the principal’s position at Mount View in Thorndike. At Medomak Valley, Letteney served as assistant principal in addition to teaching English. Before that, she taught for a few years in Lewiston and Auburn schools as well.

Letteney is not shy about sharing credit for programs created during her tenure, and her pride in the school and students — who she refers to as “uniquely endearing” — is clear. She boasts about new programs and opportunities created for students, as well as the camaraderie of athletic teams and the student body as a whole. Letteney credits staff for embracing change.

“One person can’t do it alone,” she said, adding she came to the high school during a time of transition, including the move from the old Mount View complex to the current facility. She said that move was “one of the biggest challenges” she faced during her time as principal.

The moving process was complete in a week, though there were no computers that summer, making schedule changes difficult, she said. The school also opened on time in the fall of 2009.

“I think I did a good job on that,” said Letteney.

A varsity football team and numerous non-athletic clubs have been created during her time at Mount View. Existing programs, such as drama, have “tremendously expanded” as well said Letteney, who credited the community for being involved. The community raised money to build the Performing Arts Center at the new Mount View facility, she said.

She said police calls to the school have decreased from around 50 calls per year to less than 10 calls per year. There are fewer physical fights at school as well, she said.

“Harassment is a pet peeve of mine,” she said. Although reports of harassment have increased, Letteney attributed that to staff doing a more thorough job of enforcing school rules and following up on complaints. She also said students are doing a better job reporting incidents of harassment.

“They tell us now,” said Letteney.

Letteney said technology such as cell phones “has produced no fear of looking anyone in the eye,” leading to some harassment outside of school, but she said overall, the “climate of the school is much better, the kids are happier.”

Honor roll students have increased in number and “honor study” classes were created to allow honor roll students a choice of what to do during study halls, such as going to the library or fitness center. Additional advanced classes have been added to school offerings, something Letteney said is important. She said often, students who struggle in school and special needs students receive more government financial assistance than students who excel and need to be challenged.

Mount View High School is in year four of a grant acquired to expose students to college, and Letteney said she believes the program is working. Among the senior class, 87 percent of students have completed college applications.

“They know they are good enough to get in [to college],” she said, adding not all students who are accepted choose to go immediately.

The grant has also allowed students to travel to in-state colleges to get a feel for the campus and tour the facilities.

In the cafeteria at Mount View, there is a vending machine that accepts coupons, which staff can hand out to students who are “caught being good,” Letteney said.

Within her first two years as principal, Letteney had to write an accreditation report. The offer was made to delay the accreditation visit until after the move to the new school, but Letteney said she declined the delay. The two-year, follow-up report this summer cleared Mount View of all but three recommendations, she said, noting the school started with 102 recommendations. The five-year report is due in a year and although Letteney won’t be around for that, she said the rough draft will be complete before she retires and hands over the reins to the new principal.

“I think the challenges [to education] ahead are going to be tough,” Letteney said, adding that increasing technological advances could drastically change they way school is taught. She said technology could lead to more online courses and fewer print textbooks, for example.

While she is leaving her position as principal, Letteney said she would consider returning to teaching on a temporary or fill-in basis. She said she is confident the school community is in a good position.

“I’m not going to disappear,” she said with a laugh. “I think I am leaving the school in good shape for the next principal.”

Letteney is not the only principal leaving Mount View schools. Also retiring this year is long-time staff member Peter Weston, who currently is serving as Mount View Elementary School principal. Weston has been part of the school district for nearly 40 years.

Interim Mount View Middle School Principal Martha Witham’s position is also open, according to Superintendent Heather Perry.

“Certainly we’ve been very pleased with Ms. Witham,” Perry said, adding there has been a history of high turnover at the middle school in recent years.

Witham was hired in October for a one-year interim position, Perry said. Witham is expected to finish her one-year commitment. Perry said she anticipates all three positions — at the elementary, middle and high schools — to be finalized before the start of the new school year in the fall.

“Probably it is a little bit unusual,” Perry said regarding three principals leaving the district in such a short span of time. “It was not anticipated.”

The hiring window will remain open until a suitable candidate is found to fill each position, Perry said.

“We have very good people, excellent people,” Perry said. “Everyone is handling it well.”