November 20, 2013

Thompson nominated to head Portland school board

The Portland native is the longest serving member of the board.

By Noel K. Gallagher ngallagher@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Portland school board on Tuesday night nominated at-large board member Sarah Thompson to be its next chairwoman.

The board also recognized two new members, Pious Ali and Anna Trevorrow, who were in the audience and will be sworn in in early December. They will fill the seats vacated by former board chairman Jaimey Caron and past chairwoman Kate Snyder.

“I feel privileged to be here,” Ali told the board. “Like I said before, to serve is a gift and I’ve been given that gift.”

Trevorrow also thanked the board: “I’m excited to join the board and work on the good work we have at hand.”

Three new student board members, all juniors elected by their peers, were also recognized: Eliza D’Anieri of Casco Bay High School, Mohamed Nur of Deering High School and Hallie Repeta of Portland High School.

Usually the board also nominates a finance committee chairman at the first meeting after the November elections. In the future, the board chairman will appoint the finance chairman.

Thompson, first elected in 2006, is the longest-serving member of the board. A native Portlander, she went to schools in Portland from kindergarten through college, and is a graduate of Portland High School.

Within months of her election in 2006, a $2 million deficit discovered in the $82 million budget uncovered a host of financial management problems. The crisis led to the resignations of the superintendent and finance director at the time.

Thompson has served on several subcommittees and led the last two search committees for a new superintendent.

“She brings a wonderful passion to the group,” Caron said, noting that she had recently traveled to China with Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk to study that country’s educational system.

An inauguration ceremony will be held the first week of December in the City Hall council chambers for new school board and City Council members. The board will vote on the Thompson nomination after the ceremony.

The new board members will take their seats after the inauguration.

Ali, who moved to Maine from Ghana in 2002 and became a citizen in 2009, works as a counselor for Portland’s refugee services. He has a 17-year-old son enrolled at Casco Bay High School and a 9-year-old daughter at Lyseth Elementary.

Trevorrow, the one-time chairwoman of Maine’s Green Independent Party, works as a legislative aide in the State House.

The board oversees a budget of roughly $100 million for a 16-school district with 6,986 students. The district employs 694 teachers and 60 administrators.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

ngallagher@pressherald.com

 

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