State Education Board welcomes new leadership

AUGUSTA – The Maine State Board of Education has new leadership, having elected Peter E. Geiger as chair and Martha J. Harris as vice-chair.

Geiger, of Lewiston, had previously served as vice-chair and replaces outgoing chair Nancy Perkins, who will remain on the board. He is the Executive Vice President of Geiger, the largest family-owned promotional products company in the country headquartered in Lewiston and is additionally editor and publisher of the Farmers’ Almanac.

Geiger has long been active in supporting quality public education, founding an Adopt-A-School partnership with Montello Elementary School now celebrating its 26th year. In the 1990s, Mr. Geiger served a term on the State Board as vice chair and chair, served as vice chair of the Maine Task Force on Learning Results and was a former chair of the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education. He currently sits on committees for School Facilities Construction and Career and Technical Education.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush honored Geiger with the 618th Point of Light, a recognition which recently marked its 5,000 recipient milestone.

Harris, of Winterport, has recently completed her 19th year as a board member of RSU 22/SAD 22. She has been actively involved and served as chair of the policy committee and chair of the building committee in her local school district. Harris has served on the steering committee for transition to student-centered, standards-based education and she has served on study groups at the National Association of State Boards of Education, most recently serving as chair of the awards committee and a member on the student engagement study group.

Harris was the State Board representative on the group to authorize the Legislature to contract for an independent review to evaluate the Essential Programs and Services Act.  In 2013, she received the 2 Those Who Care Award for all her volunteer work, especially in the area of education.

Harris has a Bachelor of Science from Tufts University, an MSW from Rutgers University and a JD from Northeastern University. She has been in the general practice of law in Bangor since 1977 and currently serves as chair of the School Facilities Construction Committee.

Both Geiger and Harris were elected to one-year positions that began July 1 and 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 education laws and makes education policy recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of State government. The board’s responsibilities under Maine law also include: overseeing approval of school construction projects for receipt of State funds; administering federal funds awarded to Maine for career and technical education; establishing standards for teacher certification; approving educator preparation programs; and recommending institutions of higher education for degree-granting authority.

While the State Board receives some staff support from the Maine DOE, it is an independent body.

For more information, visit the State Board of Education.

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