The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine State Board of Education announced the newest student member of the Board and newly elected officers.
The Board consists of nine members appointed by the Governor along with two nonvoting student members 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 Student Member:
Ryan Hafener of Hampden was appointed to the State Board of Education as a student member in May 2022. He will fill seat 10 in the second congressional district. Mr. Hafener is currently a Junior at Hampden Academy where he is an honors and AP student. He is an active member of his school community and is a member of many extracurricular activities including Hampden Academy Student Council, the Tennis Team, Key Club, Spanish Club, Jazz Band and the Beekeeping Club. Mr. Hafener is also a natural leader having been involved in organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Key Club International and was a volunteer at the Bangor Challenger Learning Center, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching elementary and middle school-aged children the importance of STEM, and as Ryan notes, “an endeavor he is very passionate about”. Ryan’s excellent academic profile, civic-engagement and community leadership will lend a positive prospective to the State Board of Education.
Committee appointments: Student Voices Committee
New Officers Elected to the Maine State Board of Education
At the June 15, 2022 State Board of Education Meeting, the Board re-elected Fern M.Y. Desjardins to serve as Chair of the Board and elected Paulette Bonneau to serve as Vice Chair of the Board for a one-year term beginning July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.
Fern Desjardins of St. Agatha was appointed to the State Board of Education in April 2018. She has served on the School Construction Committee (currently Chair), Certification & Higher Education Committee, Legislative Action Committee, Maine Charter School Commission and a number of other committees of the State Board. She represents the State Board on the Maine Education Policy Research Institute Steering Committee and on other education committees. Desjardins was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Boards of Education in June 2019 and has served on a number of their committees, including being chair of their Public Education Positions Committee. She was elected secretary-treasurer of the organization in October 2021 for a two-year term. Desjardins worked for 43 years in RSU 33/MSAD 33 as a teacher, elementary school principal, and superintendent of schools before retiring in 2017. She has taught graduate level courses for UMaine as an adjunct faculty member, worked as a facilitator for school systems, and served on various committees and special projects of the Maine DOE where she proudly continues to serve on the Multilingual Learner Advisory Council. She holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Language Arts from UMaine, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from USM, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UMFK. “It is an honor and true privilege for me to continue serving as Chair of the State Board for a second year. I am humbled by this outstanding opportunity to lead a board of very dedicated individuals committed to providing policy leadership and support for effective schools so all students are prepared to succeed in school, work, and life,” stated Desjardins.
Paulette Bonneau of Biddeford was appointed to the State Board of Education in June of 2021. She serves seat 7 in the first congressional district. Ms. Bonneau attended Stonehill College and received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Upon graduating, Ms. Bonneau became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker focusing on Mental Health and Substance abuse. At the same time, Ms. Bonneau also worked as a School Social Worker at the John F. Kennedy School supporting students and their families from grades 3-5. In 2004, Ms. Bonneau was awarded her master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan and in 2006 received a Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership/Administration from the University of Southern Maine. Shortly before getting her Graduate Certificate, Ms. Bonneau transitioned into the position of Assistant Principal at the John F Kennedy School and the Biddeford Intermediate School. Once again, she transitioned in 2007 into the role of Principal at the John F Kennedy School and remained in this role until 2015. From the John F. Kennedy School, Ms. Bonneau moved to her current position as the Director of the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology. Outside of her work, Ms. Bonneau is a member of the Biddeford Workforce Development Committee, the Maine Association of Adult Education, the Coalition on Adult Education, the York County United Way Early Child Development Committee and the CTE-EPS formula work group.
Committee appointments: Career & Technical Education Committee, Board Effectiveness Ad Hoc Committee (chair), and Legislative Action Committee.