State education board elects new chair, vice chair

James Banks, Sr., and Steven Pound, Ph.D., stepped up on July 1

AUGUSTA – A retired school board member and a former superintendent took on the number one and two spots on the State Board of Education July 1. Members of the board elected them at their meeting on June 9.

James Banks, Sr., of Portland, takes over for Ann Weisleder, who served as board chair for two years. He is retired from the Maine Department of Public Safety. Banks has been involved in many local and state activities such as the Portland School Board as a member for more than 17 years and its chair for 3 years; Maine State School Board Association as a member for 12 years and president. In 2005 Banks received the Robert B. Ganley Award for Distinguished Community Service with special emphasis on children. He continues to enhance his personal commitment to the education of children in the State of Maine. Banks has sat on the State Board since 2007, and chaired the Certification/Higher Education Committee and the Construction Committee.

Dr. Steven Pound, who has served on the board since 2009, replaces James Banks, Sr., who served as vice chair for two years. Pound, of Greenville, has over 30 years in education. His experience includes early childhood, K-12, technical college, adult education and university. Dr. Pound is also known as a successful fundraiser. Recent education positions are Superintendent of Schools in School Union #60 for Greenville and the surrounding area, as well as director of Adult and Community Education for the Greenville School Department. Dr. Pound is currently employed by Cianbro Corporation as the associate director of Workforce Development where he is working to provide career development for team members through training and lifelong learning initiatives. Dr. Pound’s responsibilities at Cianbro include partnering with community colleges, technical schools, career centers, government, and businesses to deliver cost-effective and efficient programming, to benefit each team member while meeting the needs of current and future projects.

Both were elected to one-year positions and both are eligible for re-election after serving their terms.

The Maine State Board of Education acts in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Education in matters concerning state laws relating to education. In addition, the Board is delegated specific powers, including: to make recommendations to the Legislature for the efficient conduct of the public schools; to approve the formation of school administrative units; to establish requirements for approval and accreditation of elementary and secondary schools; to approve standards for school construction and approve school construction projects; and to obtain information regarding applications for granting degrees.

In addition to fulfilling its statutory obligations, the State Board: continues to lead Maine’s efforts to establish a results-based initial teacher certification program; plays a leadership role in policy development and implementation of technology; and supports the recognition of the Maine Teacher of the Year Program.

For more information, visit the State Board of Education