Francis McDermott, 64, a Democrat who lives on McDermott Road in Raymond, is running for a seat on the Raymond School Board.

With a bachelor’s degree from University of Maine and two master’s degrees from USM, McDermott has made the education of young people his life’s work. He has been a teacher, principal and superintendent in his 40-year career. He was also a member of the Raymond School Board for six years, from 1998 to 2004.

Why are you running for the School Board?

McDermott: I’m running because I think that with my experience and knowledge in all the workings of what goes on and how it goes on in Augusta that I can be a help to both the board and to the administration. I’m concerned about choices. There are going to be all kinds of pressures to consolidate and I think my experience will help us make the right decision when the time comes. I want to see Raymond continue to be an excellent school system for our kids because we have nothing else to leave our kids but a good education.

How do you think you can work with a board whose opinions may vary at times, to effect change?

McDermott: I’ve dealt with 12 member [boards] and I think I have a reputation that I know how to conduct myself and how to hear all sides of a question and how to put my side of the question forward so people will understand what my perspective is. And I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the six years I served on the board in Raymond where there’s been a disagreement over issues that was lasting. There’s always a difference of opinion.

What do you think has prepared you for this position?

McDermott: I’ve lived here for 38 years and have been actively involved in the school for 38 years. I know the district. I can contribute both my store of knowledge from my professional life and also the store of knowledge I have of the town.

What do you think is the biggest single challenge that Raymond schools face in the next three years?

McDermott: The biggest challenge we face is how to provide all the education for all our kids We have a middle school with very few kids in it…there’s an economic advantage to having a larger number of students. How do you offer the same kinds of programs to our kids without it costing an arm and a leg?

How does having someone like you, with experience on the School Board, benefit the citizens of Raymond?

McDermott: I think I brought ideas and a different point of view. I’m not afraid to speak out. Maine probably has one of the better educational systems in the U.S. You look at the National Assessments; Maine is always first or second in reading, math, and science. I think the Board is made up of some of the finest people I know in this town who have spent a lot of time doing what they do. And I think they’re criticized for things there’s no need to criticize and it really bothers me. I’m running to defend the board.

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