MEDIA RELEASE: Seven New Members Appointed by Governor Mills to the Maine State Board of Education

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine State Board of Education today announced the newest members of the Board, their committee assignments, 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 Members:

Tori Kornfield Victoria Kornfield
Victoria Kornfield of Bangor was appointed to the State Board of Education in February of 2021.  She will fill seat 6 in the second congressional district.  Ms. Kornfield is a former long-time high school English teacher.  She served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives from 2012-2020.  From 2014-2020 she was the House Chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education from Syracuse University.  Victoria also has a certificate in educational leadership from the University of Maine.  She has been recognized for her commitment to education by the State Board of Education, Maine Education Association, and Maine Superintendent’s Association.
Committee appointments: Certification & Higher Education Committee, Legislative Action Committee, and ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Subcommittee.

Cynthia Murray-BeliveauCynthia Murray-Beliveau

Cynthia Murray-Beliveau of Portland was appointed to the State Board of Education in February of 2021.  She will fill seat 8 in the first congressional district.  Ms. Murray-Beliveau is an independent philanthropy professional. She is an alumna of Saint Joseph’s College where she is also the former President of the Board of Trustees.  Her volunteerism and advocacy on behalf of women and children earned her the Catherine McAuley Award in 2017.
Committee appointments: School Construction Committee and Maine Charter School Commission

Greyson OrneGreyson Orne
Greyson Elliot Orne of Camden was appointed to the State Board of Education as a student member in February of 2021.  He will fill seat 10 in the second congressional district.  Mr. Orne is a senior at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) where he is a Renaissance Scholar.  At MSSM he is very involved in the Key Club, jazz band, and Student Senate.  He has a strong interest in community service.  As an eighth grader he was awarded the Secretary of State’s Citizenship Award.  In addition to his interests in sailing, music, and science, Greyson is interested in politics and believes he can make a difference for Maine students in this role.  After high school, Greyson plans to apply to the three major U.S. Service Academies to become a commissioned officer in the United States Military.
Committee appointments: Student Voices Committee and Student Membership Committee

James FordJames Ford
James Ford of Brunswick was appointed to the State Board of Education in February of 2021.  He will fill seat 5 in the second congressional district.  Mr. Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Hobart and William Smith College and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Additionally, he holds a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern Maine.  He is a former teacher and is skilled in Lesson Planning, Teaching English as a Second Language, Classroom Management, Volunteer Management, and Differentiated Instruction.
Committee appointments: School Construction Committee, Student Voices Committee, and Student Membership Committee.

Cordelia_PitmanCordelia Pitman
Cordelia Pitman of Portland was appointed to the State Board of Education in April of 2021.  She will fill seat 6 in the first congressional district.  Ms. Pitman attended Middlebury College where she received her bachelor’s degree in Physics. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from Columbia University. She began her career as an architect with Sasaki Associates before moving on to Winton Scott Architects. Ms. Pitman remained with this firm for fifteen years before taking a job with her current firm, Wright-Ryan Construction. She has been with Wright-Ryan Construction for the past twelve years. Outside of her work, Ms. Pitman is a board member of the Blaine House Commission, the Maine Climate Council, Coastal Enterprises Inc., the Portland Society for Architects and the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.
Committee appointments: Career & Technical Education Committee and Student Membership Committee. 

Paulette BonneauPaulette Bonneau
Paulette Bonneau of Biddeford was appointed to the State Board of Education in June of 2021.  She will fill 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, Nomination & Election Committee, and Student Membership Committee.

Joshua Leinwand
Joshua Leinwand of Yarmouth was appointed to the State Board of Education as a student member in June of 2021.  He will fill seat 11 in the first congressional district.  Mr. Leinwand is currently a Junior at Yarmouth High School.  He is an active member of his school community and is a member of many extracurricular activities including the school’s Debate Team, Student Senate, Class Council, Model UN Team and Math Team.  Mr. Leinwand is also an accomplished athlete having been a member of Yarmouth High School’s cross-country team, indoor track team and outdoor track team.  Alongside his education and extracurriculars, Mr. Leinwand is a member of the Trail Crew for the Royal River Conservation Trust.  Mr. Leinwand’s hard work is focused on helping him achieve his goal of one day becoming a US Senator. For him, being able to represent people is the most rewarding of feats.  Mr. Leinwand is a dedicated student and member of his community.
Committee appointments: Student Voices Committee.

New Officers Elected to the Maine State Board of Education

At the June 9, 2021 State Board of Education Meeting, the Board elected Fern M.Y. Desjardins to serve as Chair of the Board and Peter E. Geiger to serve as Vice Chair of the Board for a one-year term beginning July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Fern DesjardinsFern Desjardins of St. Agatha was appointed to the State Board of Education in the spring of 2018. She has served on the School Construction Committee, Certification & Higher Education Committee, Maine Charter School Commission, and a number of other committees of the State Board. Desjardins was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2019 and is currently Chair of NASBE’s Public Education Positions Committee.  She earned her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine in 2005 and worked for 43 years in RSU 33/MSAD 33 as a teacher, elementary school principal, and superintendent of schools before retiring in 2017.  “I look forward to continuing the work of the State Board toward our vision and mission, developing a five-year strategic plan, and beginning the work to achieve the strategic goals once the new plan is adopted by the Board.  I am committed to working with education and community stakeholders to meet the needs and address the challenges of our education system,” stated Desjardins.

PeterGeigerPeter Geiger of Lewiston has served several terms on the State Board of Education, with the most recent appointment by Governor Mills in June of 2019.  Peter is the Editor of the Farmer’s Almanac and Executive Vice President of Geiger, a fifth-generation family owned business.  He established a nationally recognized Adopt-A-School Program with Montello Elementary School in Lewiston in 1988 and championed similar business/school partnerships throughout Maine.  Peter believes strongly on a hands-on approach to volunteering.  For the past several years, he has been involved in many arenas of community and educational organizations including Educate Maine.  Peter served on the State Board of Education from 1992 to 1997 – three years as Vice Chair and one year as Chair.  Peter was appointed to the State Board again in 2012 and served as both Chair and Vice Chair during his five-year term.  While serving in the 90s, he was also involved in the early stages of developing the Essential Programs and Services.

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. For more Board, visit their website.

Maine School of Science and Mathematics’ Student Appointed to State Board of Education as Student Member

Greyson Orne, a junior at Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM), the state’s first tuition-free, public, residential high school, has been selected as one of two student members on the Maine State Board of Education. The board advises the Commissioner of Education in Maine’s education laws and policies. Orne will also co-chair the Maine Department of Education’s Student Cabinet along with the other State Board Student Member Casey Maddock.

Orne, from Camden, said, “I’m honored to have been selected by Governor Mills for this position, and I’m excited to represent the students of Maine’s second district.”

The Maine Department of Education website explains the Maine State Board of Education has had two student members in non voting positions since 2008. The application process includes a short essay, letters of recommendation from teachers, and a balance of extracurricular activities. Apart from voting, student members have full privileges of the 9 other adult board members. Student members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Maine Senate. In February of 2021, Orne testified in front of the Joint Standing Committee on Education before his final confirmation.

Orne believes in student involvement in the education system of Maine and plans to advocate for “advanced education in public schools, especially rural areas with little access to other schooling options.” After high school, Orne plans to apply to the three major U.S. Service Academies to become a commissioned officer in the United States Military. Orne said, “This leadership on the board will allow me to better understand how to lead, work collaboratively with others, and use my presence and voice to advocate for others.”

Although this is the first student from MSSM to be appointed to the board, David Pearson, Executive Director of MSSM, noted “in Greyson’s appointment to the Maine State Board of Education, we see not only a successful individual accomplishment, but a reflection of our wider student population who universally are imbued with a driving desire to make a positive difference in the lives and experiences of those around them.”

MEDIA RELEASE: Application Process Open for Student Position on Maine State Board of Education

Student voice is critically important to the Maine State Board of Education, and they are seeking applications for the newest student member to join the Board. Applications are being accepted February 1, 2021 – March 1, 2021.

The Maine State Board of Education has two nonvoting student members who join the Board as high school juniors and serve for two years, one enrolled in a school in Maine’s First Congressional District; the other enrolled in a school in the Second Congressional District. At all times, the State Board has one high school junior and one senior as members, with staggered appointment.

Applications are currently being accepted from students who attend school in the First Congressional District (includes Cumberland, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and York counties, and part of Kennebec County) and are currently a high school sophomore.  Application materials are available on the State Board of Education web page. The Board has also emailed and mailed application materials to all first congressional district high school principals and school counselors. Completed applications should be mailed to:

Mary Becker, Maine State Board of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

After applications close on March 1, 2021, they will be reviewed according to the process described in Maine Education and School Statutes, Title 20-A, Chapter 5, State Board of Education. Semifinalists will be interviewed in March 2021, after which three finalists will be chosen. The names and application materials of the finalists will be sent to the Governor’s office for final selection. The selected student will be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maine State Senate.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Maine students to practice civic engagement while serving as both a representative of Maine students and an active education leader in our state.

For further information please visit the Maine State Board of Education web page or contact Mary Becker, Board Assistant at 624-6616 or email at Mary.Becker@maine.gov.

Application Process Open for Student Position on Maine State Board of Education

Student voice is critically important to the Maine State Board of Education, and they are seeking applications for the newest student member to join the Board. Applications are being accepted February 3 – 24, 2020.

The Maine State Board of Education has two nonvoting student members who join the Board as high school juniors and serve for two years, one enrolled in a school in Maine’s First Congressional District; the other enrolled in a school in the Second Congressional District. At all times, the State Board has one high school junior and one senior as members, with staggered appointment.

Applications are currently being accepted from students who attend school in the Second Congressional District (including Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington counties, and part of Kennebec County) and are currently a high school sophomore.  Application materials are available on the State Board of Education web page. The Board has also mailed application materials to all second congressional district high school principals and guidance counselors. Completed applications should be mailed to:

Mary Becker, Maine State Board of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

After applications close on February 24, 2020, they will be reviewed according to the process described in Maine Education and School Statutes, Title 20-A, Chapter 5, State Board of Education. Semifinalists will be interviewed in March 2020, after which three finalists will be chosen. The names and application materials of the finalists will be sent to the Governor’s office for final selection. The selected student will be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maine State Senate.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Maine students to practice civic engagement while serving as both a representative of Maine students and an active education leader in our state.

For further information please visit the Maine State Board of Education web page or contact Mary Becker, Board Assistant at 624-6616 or email at Mary.Becker@maine.gov.

Priority Notice: Proposed Revisions to Ch. 125, School Approval Standards

The State Board and the Department of Education are proposing the repeal and replacement of Chapter 125: Basic School Approval Standards: Public Schools and School Administrative Units.

The last repeal and replace of State Board of Education/Maine Department of Education Rule Chapter 125 was in 2002. The resulting language was highly duplicative of statute. The proposed replacement eliminates redundancy when possible, and minimizes to include only what is required in law.

To this end, the proposed Rule is written to address school approval standards and requirements in a linear fashion, reflecting requirements in the order they appear in statute when possible, and providing detail where necessary. For clarity, a chart referenced in Section 4 of the proposed Rule resides on the Department web page and contains a comprehensive list of requirements and citations.

Specific revisions to the Rule are as follows:

  • Based on a cross-walk conducted by the Department, language which is duplicative of statute or is outdated has been updated or eliminated;
  • The definition of school has been revised;
  • Unnecessary definitions have been eliminated;
  • Certain requirement exceptions for SAUs that tuition all or whole populations of students out of the resident unit have been added;
  • Certain requirement exceptions for Career and Technical Regions have been added;
  • The Comprehensive Education Plan format determination remains with the SAU, but must equally include and reflect all schools within the unit;
  • The minimum requirements as required by M.R.S. 20-A Section 4502(5) are listed in Section 5:
    • 5.01 – Grade K now has a minimum instructional day of 3 hours;
    • 5.03 – added “Areas used for the provision of student services and health services shall be adequate to provide for the privacy and confidentiality of such services;”
    • 5.08 – revised language regarding school counseling program;
    • 5.12 – revised language regarding time out areas to reference Restraint and Seclusion;
    • 5.15 – added family outreach requirement, per statute;
    • 5.16 – added language around Promotion, Retention, Acceleration and Graduation of Students;
    • 5.18 – added requirement for Multi-tiered System of Support, per LD 651; and
  • Section 7.01 outlining the initial approval process for SAUs was revised to reflect current practice.

Public Hearing Information for Rule Chapter 125:

  • December 16, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 PM
  • Room 500 in the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine
  • All are welcome to attend, and no RSVP is required.  Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments via email to jaci.holmes@maine.gov or by mailing comments to:

Maine Department of Education
attention: Jaci Holmes
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME  04333-0023
Comment Period Deadline: December 27, 2019