State Ed Board members complete national policy training

Arlington, VA — The newest members of the Maine State Board of Education are back from two days of intensive training from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to help board members become highly effective state education policymakers.

William H. Beardsley, of Ellsworth, Nichi Farnham, of Bangor, Peter Geiger, of Lewiston, and Ande A. Smith, of North Yarmouth, joined state board members from 17 states and territories in sessions that covered basic boardsmanship issues such as the responsibilities of boards and their members, the sequence of policy development and using Robert’s Rules of Order, as well as more advanced subjects such as how to provide effective state leadership through board actions.

“At this pivotal time in public education, it is critical that state board members acquire the knowledge and skills they need to represent the students of their respective states,” said NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “These volunteer leaders give their time, energy and expertise to their respective states, and we proudly work to support them not only at the outset of their education policymaking careers, but throughout their service.”

Beardsley, who served as president of Husson University from 1987 through 2009 and then as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Conservation under Governor Paul R. LePage, also serves on the board’s Career and Technical Education Committee.

Farnham, a longtime City of Bangor councilor and chair from 2007 until 2010, was most recently a state senator representing District 32 in the 125th Legislature. She is the newest board member having been appointed by Governor LePage earlier this year.

In addition to being the board’s vice-chair, Geiger, who is the Executive Vice President of Geiger, the largest family-owned promotional products company in the country, serves on its School Facilities Construction and Career and Technical Education committees.

Smith is president of Deer Brook Associates, a privately held firm providing legal and consulting services principally in information security, technology and privacy.  He also is one of the three board members who also serves on the Maine Charter School Commission.

The Maine State Board of Education acts in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Education and makes education policy recommendations to the legislature. It also oversees approval of school construction projects for receipt of State funds; establishes standards for teacher certification; approves educator preparation programs; and recommends institutions of higher education for degree-granting authority. For more information, visit

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen State Boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit

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