The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine State Board of Education today announced the newest members of the Board and their committee assignments.
The Board consists of nine members appointed by the Governor along with two nonvoting student members also appointed by the Governor. Board members serve staggered, five-year terms and nonvoting student members serve staggered, two-year terms.
New Maine State Board of Education Members:
Mark Balfantz of Portland was appointed to the State Board of Education in February of 2022. He will fill seat 8 in the first congressional district. Mr. Balfantz served in the United States Marine Corps for 10 years. He is a Maine citizen who has served on his local school board in Portland for three years. He is the Vice President, General Counsel and Lending Compliance Officer at Kennebunk Savings Bank. Mr. Balfantz has years of experience as an attorney as well as a background in financial investment. He understands policy and financing in addition to the comprehension of the Department of Education’s goals and challenges having served at the local level. He holds a BS in Business Administration with focus on Finance and attended Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. He has been a member of the Maine Bar Association since 2016.
Kristin Bishop of Madison was appointed to the State Board of Education in April of 2022. She will fill seat 4 in the second congressional district. Ms. Bishop is not a stranger to serve on the State Board of Education as she served as a student member of the Board from 2012 to 2014. Currently, she is the Program and Outreach Coordinator for Civic Engagement at Colby College. Ms. Bishop holds a BA in Education and Government & Legal Studies from Bowdoin College. She is currently pursuing her graduate studies at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine and expects to complete her MBA the summer of 2022. Ms. Bishop holds a lifelong dedication to public service and community engagement and has been involved with numerous higher education service and civic organizations.
Committee appointments: Career and Technical Education
Thomas “Tom” Keller of Newcastle was appointed to the State Board of Education in March of 2022. He will fill seat 6 in the first congressional district. Mr. Keller is a retired educator and has been a classroom teacher, a school administrator, a Scientist and educational researcher. He’s worked in education policy, and is the Founding President of STEM Education Strategies, LLC, an organization in which he works collaboratively with educators and institutions to streamline the system of science education. He believes that there is value in interconnecting various sectors of education, that good assessment facilitates good instruction, that teacher competence breeds confidence, and that policies must support high-quality learning. Dr. Keller has served as an Executive Director of the Maine STEM Council, he is a member of the University of Maine at Augusta Board of Visitors and serves in many other educationally formulated organizations. Dr. Keller holds a BS in Zoology from Texas A&M University and his Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Committee appointments: Certification and Higher Education Committee
Fern Desjardins, Chair of the Maine State Board of Education, stated that the new members have brought knowledge and experiences that already benefit the work of the Board in carrying out its duties and responsibilities.
“Their energy and enthusiasm in getting appointed to the board’s committees and in being of service in any way needed to help the board accomplish its goals is greatly appreciated. Their contributions will help advance the work of the State Board in carrying out its policy-making, administrative and advisory functions,” said Desjardins.
For more information about the State Board of Education, visit their website https://www.maine.gov/doe/about/leadership/stateboard.