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May 23, 2024

Maine Maritime Academy president is departing after two years

After two years as president of Maine Maritime Academy, Jerry Paul is retiring this summer due to "extenuating family circumstances."

The Castine school's board of trustees has named COO Craig Johnson as interim president as of June 2, according to a news release Wednesday.

Craig Johnson the new interim president.
Photo / Courtesy, Maine Maritime Academy
Craig Johnson

Johnson is an academy graduate who has worked in the maritime industry for over three decades. Since becoming chief operating officer in August 2022, MMA said, he has been part of all academy operations, from overseeing multimillion-dollar construction initiatives to expanding strategic partnerships. 

During his tenure, he has also worked as the temporary overseer of financial, operational and facility functions, as well as advancement and alumni affairs.

Paul’s legacy 

The school lauded Paul's achievements, including reinstatement of the football team, establishing the MMA Foundation, reaching new records for state and federal funding and preparing for the arrival of a new training ship and the pier renovations for it. 

Photo / Courtesy, Maine Maritime Academy
Jerry Paul

“I am pleased to have assembled a strong and capable [team] that is performing at high levels of management and leadership,” said Paul.

“Together we have plotted a path forward that will be measured on delivering the best possible experience and outcomes for our students so that they may continue to lead in our industry for generations to come. This team of professionals has a shared vision for our academy and its future.”

Paul also helped introduce new strategies in advancement, enrollment and communications, as well as the return of the schooner Bowdoin to the Arctic after 16 years and the return of a nationally competitive sailing team.

“Through many of Paul’s initiatives, hard work and vision, he has been a catalyst for a new trajectory at the academy,” said Wayne Norton, board chair of Maine Maritime Academy.

“President Paul leaves behind a strong foundation poised for continued growth born of the hard work of our faculty, staff and academy leadership team.”

Maine Maritime Academy was ranked No. 14 among Maine's largest colleges and universities in the 2024 Mainebiz Book of Lists, based on the full-time undergraduate enrollment of 859 last fall. 

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