Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley honored 19 team members for years of service today at the Department, representing a long-standing commitment to Maine’s citizens. Collectively, this group has dedicated over 560 years as employees of State government.
“Years embody context and institutional memory. Years serve as our anchor to windward in an era and environment of constant change,” says Acting Commissioner Bill Beardsley. “And years reflect commitment, dedication, resilience, and camaraderie which are the ties that bind.”
Maine DOE staff members Jackie Godbout and Suzan Beaudoin have served over 30 years at the Department. Godbout began her service as a Vocational Education Secretary and today is the Title IA Program Consultant with the Assessment and Accountability team. She says she enjoys being part of State government, “to work and serve the people of Maine and support programs that enhance the educational opportunities and achievement of all students in Maine.”
Suzan Beaudoin has been with the Department for 31 years being the education formula calculator, if you will. She started in the Department as an accountant for Special Services and went on to hold eight other positions before being named Acting Deputy Commissioner in January. Beaudoin says through her work she feels she is making a difference for and supporting “all” Maine’s school children. “School unit staff often represent children in their particular unit, but I have always felt a responsibility to represent “all” the children in Maine schools so that in any situation or issue, they are equally represented and considered.”
Next month marks 31 years Georgette Valliere has served the Department beginning her career working in the Public Information Office. From there, she was promoted to secretary for the Deputy Commissioner, and for the last six years, Georgette has served as the Commissioner’s secretary. She says, every day she enjoys the important work that makes a difference. “Including Commissioner Beardsley, this is the 13th Commissioner since I have been here in the Department of Education, and they have all been very different, which keeps things interesting!”
Thirty years ago, Nanci Stitt-Kittredge worked for the Migrant Program before it was a state agency, and today she is the Account Clerk for DOE’s Child Nutrition Services.
Walter Beesley has been with DOE for the past 29 years, first hired as an Educational Specialist to work with schools for culinary skills and handle Federal reviews. Today he is Director of Child Nutrition. He says, “While this position has constantly changed because of State and Federal regulations, the focus has always been on providing meals to students in our Maine schools.”
Lisa Perry was as a Clerk Steno II when she came to the Department 29 years ago, and today she is an Office Specialist I in Adult Education. She says, “Being an integral part of Maine DOE is exciting and fulfilling. I love how the Department is working for better education for the children and adults in Maine.”
Sue Kendall is support staff in Child Development Services and has been since 1995, having served the Department collectively for 29 years, and all she can say is, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s been this long.”
Susan Parks has been with DOE for over 27 years, first as an ESL Consultant and for close to 20 years as Due Process Consultant for the Special Services Division. She credits her dedication to the children, families, and school units of Maine for her longevity with the Department.
Debbie Violette has been with DOE for some 27 years assisting in multiple positions within the Department. Because she is a “people person,” Debbie started her career as the Department’s receptionist, then an Office Assistant, and now a Secretary.
Jaci Holmes began her 27 year career with the Department as an early childhood consultant. She then became the state director of the program, and for the past 12 years as served as the Federal and State Legislative Liaison. She says, “I enjoy the challenge of working on federal and state legislative proposals and grants that enhance effective educational practices for the children and families of Maine.”
Meg Harvey has been with the Department for 27 years now serving as Director of Career and Technical Education. Her first State job was a clerk counting tickets for the lottery and now she leads CTE in what she says is an educational system that she truly believes in. “CTE is more than a training for students, it is a whole different way of learning and viewing themselves. It allows students to grow both in skill and confidence. It also directly relates to the economy of Maine which can increase their quality of life.”
And recently, Pauline Lamontagne (and her guide dogs) retired after 26 years with the Department. She served as a Due Process Consultant for Special Services Division. Prior to that, she was an attorney in the Certification Division with Maine DOE.
Rhonda Casey has been with the DOE for 26 years, first hired as a full-time Clerk Typist working for the School Finance Team (at that time known as the Management Information Systems Team). She recalls interviewing with Suzan Beaudoin on the panel that “grilled” her. “I remember it well. I walked into my interview and was greeted by a table of at least seven serious professionals …I have learned a lot from those individuals, and I have continued to learn as I worked my way up the career ladder over the years to my current position as Business Manager for Education in the Unorganized Territory.”
For the past 25 years, Sandy St. Michel has served DOE as support in several programs. For 16 plus years now she has worked in Child Nutrition Services.
Shelley Lane was hired in August 1987 to teach in a multi-graded classroom in Benedicta, in an Unorganized Territory and then she became principal of two State run schools, both Kingman and Benedicta. For the past eight years, Lane has served as Director of State Schools (EUT). She says, “The greatest gift has been being able to be part of so many lives and seeing students reach their potential. I love the variety of my work. I get to touch the lives of children through staff and in person. I have said I’d do ANYTHING except drive a bus…..and I have. I really love what I do.”
Brian Snow came to DOE seven years ago as Education Data Manager; a crucial role in all data collection, management and reporting for the Department. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Director of Information Technology at DHHS, a position he held for nine years overseeing all things technology. Snow says his job at DOE has a much stronger information focus, “In this age of technology in schools, without the data, we wouldn’t have the right information to objectively and successfully manage DOE programs.”
Five and-a-half years ago Deb Friedman came to the Department as Deputy Commissioner and is currently MLTI Project Manager. She says, “It’s a pleasure to work in a department that has a real, positive impact on students and the future of Maine.”
Dede Gilbert has worked for the Department for a little over five years. She started her service for the State in 1988 at the DOT as a clerk typist II. Her position in the Commissioner’s office as a secretary specialist allows her daily interaction with her colleagues in the Department. She is a “go-to person” who, if she doesn’t know the answer, knows who to direct people to.
Brenda Vigue’s first State job was with the Secretary of State’s office in 1987. She has also worked at DHHS and DOT before joining DOE as an Office Manager in Certification in November. She says, “I love the people that I work with both within Certification and the Department of Education itself. I like that we are busy in our office and I also enjoy the people we serve.”
Beardsley says, “All of us in the Department owe a debt of gratitude to those of you who have performed, maintained and are at the core of DOE. These people are just a sampling of the approximately 150 employees of the Maine Department of Education that exemplify dedicated service to the State of Maine and Maine’s children.”