November 3, 2012

Election 2012: Cape Elizabeth School Board

Two challengers, including one interested in new approaches to instruction, hope to unseat an incumbent or two.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH -- All three incumbents running for re-election to the Cape Elizabeth School Board say their experience dealing with declining state and federal aid over the last few years gives them the experience to deal with a future that promises even tighter budgets.

Michael G. Goulding

John C. Christie III

Additional Photos Below

JOHN C. CHRISTIE III

AGE: 46

PERSONAL: Wife, Megan McConagha; children: Hudson and Kyla

ADDRESS: 6 Albion Road

EDUCATION: Bachelor of arts in international relations, Brown University

EMPLOYMENT: Chief of operations and finance, SINU, an IT services company

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: School board, 2009-present

MICHAEL G. GOULDING

AGE: 57

PERSONAL: Wife, Helen; children: Emily and Sarah

ADDRESS: 1199 Shore Road

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in elementary education, University of Maine-Farmington; Doctor of chiropractic, Palmer College

EMPLOYMENT: Chiropractor, Goulding Chiropractic

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None

WILLIAM H. GROSS III

AGE: 67

PERSONAL: Wife, Jeanne; children: William IV and Nora

ADDRESS: 7 Sea View Ave.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic

EMPLOYMENT: Retired

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.

DAVID C. HILLMAN

AGE: 59

PERSONAL: Single; son: Zachary

ADDRESS: 22 Cranbrook Drive

EDUCATION: Bachelor of arts, political science, University of Maine; Juris Doctor, Yale Law School

EMPLOYMENT: Verrill Dana, LLP, of counsel

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: School board, 2009-present

MARY K. WILLIAMS-HEWITT

AGE: 9/11/1964

PERSONAL: Husband, Jonathan Hewitt; children: Lucy, Forest, Quinn, Dylan

ADDRESS: 250 Ocean House Road

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in education, Wheelock College; certification in tutoring dyslexic children

EMPLOYMENT: Owns The Children’s Nursery School in Portland

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: School board, 2009-present

"We've been through a lot of tough decisions the last few years and there are going to be more in the next few years," said David C. Hillman, who's completing his first term on the board. "It takes skill to balance all those things and keep the schools in Cape as good as we can at a reasonable cost to local taxpayers."

That thought was echoed by John C. Christie III and Mary K. Williams-Hewitt, both of whom are also finishing their first terms on the board.

Challenging those three are Michael Goulding, who thinks the board should work with local lawmakers to try to avert further cuts in state aid, and William H. Gross III, who thinks new trends in education can help the schools be more effective.

The top three vote-getters in the five-way race will win seats.

THE INCUMBENTS

Hillman said experience in fashioning a budget helps, and said his work as a lawyer also gives him a background that's valuable on the board.

"The costs of education are rising faster than the cost of inflation," he said, but said the board has taken some steps to rein in those increases.

For instance, he noted that Cape Elizabeth Middle School now has some high school teachers coming into classrooms to help better integrate the middle and high school math curriculums.

Christie said the board has worked to wring more savings by installing more efficient fuel and energy systems and also refinancing debt to gain more favorable terms.

Christie said his role as head of operations and finance at an IT firm gives him a background in budgeting and management that helps the board do its work better.

"Experience matters on the board," said Christie, who said voters should look at how the board has handled staff turnover that includes a new superintendent. While dealing with changes at the top, he said, the board also crafted a new mission statement and will soon turn toward drafting a strategic plan that will put that statement into action.

It would be helpful to have the same people who created the process that led to the mission statement working on the strategic plan, he said.

Williams-Hewitt said she believes she's been "an advocate for all students," whether they're AP students or those who struggle in school.

"I'm a working mother who wants to make sure that all kids' needs are being taken care of," she said, noting that she has focused on coming up with a realistic budget while preserving programs like foreign language instruction, art and music.

"We don't have a big business (tax) base in Cape, so we have to be smart about how to keep all those programs going forward," she said.

THE CHALLENGERS

But Gross said he'd like to see the board try some bold moves that he thinks would save money and improve education.

Gross said some educators believe the goals for in-class work and homework should be reversed, with students watching videos of lectures at home. They should do problem-solving work, which is usually assigned as homework, in the classroom instead, where teachers are available to help.

"This gets rid of the duplication and allows the teacher to act more as a coach," said Gross, who added that it takes advantage of advances in technology and has been shown to be effective, particularly in math and science.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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David C. Hillman

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William H. Gross III

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Mary K. Williams-Hewitt



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