State Board of Education elects new leadership

AUGUSTA – The Maine State Board of Education has new leadership, having elected Martha J. Harris as chair and Alan R. Burton as vice-chair. Come September, Ms. Harris will have served on the board for five years having been appointed by Governor Baldacci and one year for Mr. Burton, appointed by Governor Paul R. LePage.

Ms. Harris is chair of the Legislative Liaison Committee and serves on the School Facilities Construction Committee for the State Board of Education. She is in her 21st year on the RSU 22 School Board where she has served as chair of the policy and building committees and served on the steering committee for transition to student-centered, standards-based education.

This year, Ms. Harris served on the Leadership Study group at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and last year on the Student Engagement Study Group. She was also chair of Awards in 2014 and a member of nominations committee in 2015 on this national board. In addition, Ms. 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.

Ms. 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. Ms. Harris and her husband live in Winterport and raised two grown sons who were ably educated through the public school system in Maine.

Alan R. Burton is a resident of Winslow and has been employed by Cianbro for the past 38 years and is Vice President of The Cianbro Companies. Aside from his dedication to workforce development, Mr. Burton was the impetus in founding the Cianbro Institute which houses all of Cianbro’s training, education and workforce development programs and initiatives. His efforts have positioned the Cianbro Institute as a renowned model for excellence throughout the industry.

Mr. Burton is the founder of the Maine Craft Championships and serves on several industry workforce development boards, trustees, and councils. Mr. Burton is Chair of the Boards Career and Technical Education Committee, serves as Legislative Liaison for the State Board of Education, and serves on the School Facilities Construction Committee.

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 Department of Education, it is an independent body. For more information, visit the State Board of Education.

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