AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education and the Maine State Board of Education on Friday announced new board members, their committee assignments and newly elected leaders.
The Board consists of nine members appointed by the Governor as well as two non-voting student members appointed by the Governor. Board members serve five-year staggered terms and non-voting student members serve two-year staggered terms.
New members of the Maine State Board of Education:
Victoria Kornfield of Bangor was appointed to the State Board of Education in February 2021. She will occupy the 6 seat in the Second Congressional District. Ms. Kornfield is a longtime former high school English teacher. She served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives from 2012 to 2020. From 2014 to 2020, she was chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. She holds a BA in English and an MA in Education from Syracuse University. Victoria also holds 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, the Maine Education Association and the Maine Superintendent’s Association. Committee appointments: Certification and Higher Education Committee, Legislative Action Committee and ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Subcommittee.
Portland’s Cynthia Murray-Beliveau was appointed to the State Board of Education in February 2021. She will occupy seat 8 in the First Congressional District. Ms. Murray-Beliveau is an independent philanthropy professional. She is an alumnus of Saint Joseph’s College where she is also the past chair of the board. Her volunteerism and advocacy for women and children earned her the Catherine McAuley Award in 2017. Committee appointments: School Building Committee and Maine Charter School Board
Greyson Elliot Orne of Camden was appointed to the State Board of Education as a student member in February 2021. He will occupy 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 Fellow. At MSSM, he is very involved in the Key Club, the jazz band and the Student Senate. He has a great interest in community service. In eighth grade he received the citizenship award from the secretary of state. 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 service academies in the United States to become a commissioned officer in the United States military. Appointments to committees: Student Voices Committee and Student Membership Committee
James Ford of Brunswick was appointed to the State Board of Education in February 2021. He will occupy the 5th seat in the Second Congressional District. Mr. Ford holds a BA in Economics from Hobart and William Smith College and received his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition, he holds a Masters in Special Education from the University of Southern Maine. He is a former teacher and is proficient in lesson planning, teaching English as a second language, classroom management, volunteer management, and differentiated instruction. Appointments to Committees: School Construction Committee, Student Voices Committee and Student Membership Committee.
Cordelia Pitman of Portland was appointed to the State Board of Education in April 2021. She will occupy seat 6 in the First Congressional District. Ms. Pitman attended Middlebury College where she obtained her BA in Physics. She then obtained her Masters in Architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. She started her career as an architect at Sasaki Associates before joining Winton Scott Architects. Ms. Pitman remained with this company for fifteen years before moving to her current company, Wright-Ryan Construction. She has been with Wright-Ryan Construction for twelve years. Outside of her job, 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. Appointments to committees: Careers and Technical Education Committee and Student Membership Committee.
Paulette Bonneau of Biddeford was appointed to the State Board of Education in June 2021. She will occupy seat 7 in the First Congressional District. Ms. Bonneau attended Stonehill College and obtained her BA in Psychology. After graduating, Ms. Bonneau became a licensed clinical social worker focusing on mental health and addiction. At the same time, Ms. Bonneau also worked as a school social worker at John F. Kennedy School to support students and their families in Grades 3 to 5. In 2004, Ms. Bonneau received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan and, in 2006, a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Southern Maine. Shortly before obtaining her graduate certificate, Ms. Bonneau served as assistant principal at John F Kennedy School and Biddeford Intermediate School. Once again, in 2007 she moved to the position of Principal of John F Kennedy School and remained in that role until 2015. From John F. Kennedy School, Ms. Bonneau moved to her current position of Director of the Biddeford Regional Center. of Technology. Outside of her job, 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 working group on the CTE-EPS formula. Committee appointments: Career and Technical Education Committee, Nominations and Elections Committee and Student Membership Committee.
Joshua Leinwand of Yarmouth was appointed to the State Board of Education as a student member in June 2021. He will occupy 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 Debate Team, Student Senate, Class Council, Model UN Team, and Math Team. Mr. Leinwand is also an accomplished athlete having been a member of the Yarmouth High School cross-country ski team, indoor track team and outdoor track team. Along with his studies and extracurricular activities, Mr. Leinwand is a member of the trails team at the Royal River Conservation Trust. Mr. Leinwand’s hard work is aimed at helping him achieve his goal of one day becoming a United States Senator. For him, being able to represent people is the most rewarding achievement. Mr. Leinwand is a dedicated student and member of his community. Committee appointments: Student Voices Committee.
New officers elected to Maine State Board of Education
At the meeting of the National Board of Education on June 9, 2021, the Board elected Fern MY Desjardins as Chairman of the Board and Peter E. Geiger as Vice Chairman of the Board for a one-year term beginning July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
Fern 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, the Certification & Higher Education Committee, the Maine Charter School Commission and several other State Board committees. . Desjardins was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2019 and is currently Chairman of the Public Education Positions Committee of NASBE. She received her PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine in 2005 and worked for 43 years at RSU 33 / MSAD 33 as a teacher, elementary school principal and school superintendent before retiring in 2017. The Council of State’s work towards our vision and mission, the development of a five-year strategic plan and the start of work to achieve the strategic objectives once the new plan is adopted by the Council. I am committed to working with education and community stakeholders to meet the needs and meet the challenges of our education system, âsaid Desjardins.
Peter Geiger of Lewiston has served multiple terms on the State Board of Education, with the most recent appointment by Governor Mills in June 2019. Peter is the editor of Farmer’s Almanac and executive vice president of Geiger, a fifth-largest family business. generation. . He established a nationally recognized Adopt-A-School program with Montello Elementary School in Lewiston in 1988 and has championed similar partnerships between businesses and schools throughout Maine. Peter strongly believes in a hands-on approach to volunteering. Over the past few years, he has been involved in many areas of community and educational organizations, most notably Educate Maine. Peter served on the State Board of Education from 1992 to 1997 – three years as vice president and one year as president. Peter was reappointed to the State Council in 2012 and served as both president and vice president during his five-year tenure. During his service in the 1990s, he was also involved in the early stages of the development of essential programs and services.
The Maine State Board of Education acts in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Education on matters relating to state education laws and makes educational policy recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of the state government. For more advice, visit their website.