Get to know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Barbara Pineau

Barb Pineau

Maine DOE team member Barbara (Barb) Pineau is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Barb in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Special Education Director for the State’s Unorganized Territories.  In my position, I work directly with 86 schools that we tuition students to across the State of Maine and 3 “State Schools,” which are our own.  I cover the entire state and we encompass 53% of the State!  In a non Covid year, I travel to all of these schools to attend IEP Team meetings, averaging about 35,000 miles a school year.  There are currently 206 kids from PreK – 12 either in special education or with a 504 plan who live in the Unorganized Territories and my role is to work collaboratively with the school’s staff to ensure each of these kids have appropriate programs while being fiscally responsible to the EUT tax payers.   I also am the 504 coordinator, the Homeless Liaison, the Title 1 Coordinator and the Federal Grant Coordinator.  I manage programs for all students with 504 plans as well as those who are homeless.  I write the grants for ESEA and all COVID related monies.

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy working with the professionals at the schools in Maine.  Each time I visit a school district I feel I come away with new information, at times having left them with new information and always a renewed respect for the role schools are expected to play in the lives of children above and beyond educating them.  We have some phenomenal educators in Maine!

How or why did you decide on this career?

I don’t think I decided on a career in Special Education…. It decided on me. My first degree is in Parks and Recreation Management.  In the position as a recreation director, I realized how many kids with disabilities were left out of sports and how I could help to change that.  From there, I went back to school to get my degree in teaching and became a special education teacher.  As a teacher, I felt like I could not always get my point across to the general education population, teachers and students alike.  So, I was encouraged by my mentor, Roland Caron, to earn my Masters in Special Education and become a director; which I did.  I found it allowed me to not only share information that would support kids with disabilities, but to provide in service opportunities to all staff as to what the best practices were to include them in all areas of their education; academically and functionally.  I feel good about that and will always be a child advocate first and foremost.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

When I’m not at work you can find me spending time in the woods with my family.  I am a Master Maine Recreation Guide since 1989 and guide family trips on the Allagash River.  I enjoy canoe camping, fishing, camper camping in Bar Harbor, hiking (I’m actually doing the 100 Mile Wilderness this summer with my daughter Grace), snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and spending every spare moment I have with my grandkids sharing all of my adventures.