Three candidates are competing for two seats representing Freeport on the Regional School Unit 5 school board on Nov. 7.

Vice Chairwoman Beth Parker has decided not to run again. Lindsay Sterling is running for a second term on the board and is facing challengers Maddy Vertenten and Tiffany Jones.

Three candidates are running unopposed for seats on the Town Council: Chairwoman Sarah Tracy in District 2, Eric Horne for an at-large seat and Douglas Reighley in District 3.

Polls will be open Nov. 7 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Freeport High School gymnasium.

n Sterling, 43, is a chef and author of “Immigrants Kitchen,” an online cookbook and live series of cooking classes. She also founded and led Friends of Freeport High School to promote the recent high school renovation.

Sterling said she decided to run for re-election because she was inspired by the progress she’s seen in the district over the past three years and feels she has more to offer to keep that positive momentum going.

If elected, Sterling would like to resume the board’s work on what she feels is the biggest challenge facing the district: differentiated learning.

“There is a wide range of abilities in each class,” Sterling said. “I think we can continue to improve on … how (to) help teachers inspire and engage every single student in the classroom.”

n Vertenten, 49, is a board member of the Tri-Town Track and Field Project and Friends of Wabun, a youth outdoor program. In 2006, she joined USANA Health Sciences – a multi-level marketing company that produces various nutritional products and dietary supplements.

Vertenten said she decided to run for a seat on the school board because she is more comfortable voicing what she is passionate about than most people. She said she isn’t running to promote a particular agenda, but says voters can count on her to advocate for whole and healthy kids – beyond physical wellness, public education, building relationships, authentic communication and community engagement.

When asked what she thinks the biggest challenge facing the district is, Vertenten said it has a difficult time building a budget suitable for different financial considerations in all three towns in RSU 5.

“We have a lot of economic diversity in the three towns and that can make for a lot of bitter feelings during the budget process,” she said. “I think (the board) can do a better job of hearing the concerns of our constituents, not just in the smaller towns, but in Freeport, too.”

n Jones, 46, teaches at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick. Previously she taught at public schools in Falmouth, Lewiston and Durham for 13 years.

She said becoming involved in her 5- and 10-year-olds’ school district is the main reason she decided to run. She believes her experience as an educator would make her a valuable asset to the board, helping them understand proficiency-based learning and the teacher evaluation process.

If elected, Jones said, she would like to see foreign language classes start at an earlier age, and she would like to see students and teachers from each town brought together to get to know one another before students enter high school.

Jones noted that she felt inclined to run for a seat on the school board during last year’s discussions around building a new track and field at the high school.

Jones’ house abuts the new track and field. She said while she was always in favor of the project, some of her neighbors were not. Still, during discussions, she said the board often grouped the entire neighborhood together, regardless of differing opinions.

“I want people on the board with open minds … there didn’t need to be a (neighbors) versus (board) dynamic,” she said.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @JocelynVanSaun.

filed under: