Karen Callaghan seeks her first, full term on the South Portland School Board, after being appointed to finish out the term of a member who stepped down last year.

Callaghan is among four candidates vying for two at-large seats on the School Board. The top two vote-getters on Nov. 4 will win the posts.

Callaghan, 51, said she “has learned the ropes” while serving as an appointee. She now seeks support from voters for a three-year term in office.

“It would be nice to go forward with the ideas and information I now have,” said Callaghan, a part-time library aide with the city of South Portland. “I would hate to see all these new people have to come in and start all over again. It’s quite a learning curve,” she said.

Callaghan vies against incumbent Ralph Baxter Jr. and two newcomers – Kendall Fassett and Jay T. Allen.

Both newcomers are running on a reform platform that calls for better communication with the public. But Callaghan says that the board is doing a fine job now.

She comes with no particular agenda, other than as a parent who understands that a quality education is important for children.

Her goal is to “make South Portand schools the best they can be.”

She said that the school district must manage population shifts, which include a decline in students in high school and middle school, as the number of elementary school students rises.

Callaghan does not believe that the increase in students in the lower grades reflects interest by families to live in South Portland, since the city rebuilt its neighborhood elementary schools five years ago.

She believes that, “South Portland always has been a popular place to live.”

Callaghan is a 25-year resident with two children who went to South Portland schools and have graduated from college.

Callaghan served on a committee that developed the successful plan for renovating the elementary schools.

She supports efforts to rebuild South Portland High School to meet modern education needs.

School “is where children spend most of their time outside the home,” she said. “Education is extremely important.”

(Karen Callaghan declined to provide a photo or be available to be photographed.)

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