TOPSHAM — Four candidates are competing for two open School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors seats that have partial terms ending next year.

Three Topsham representative seats on the SAD 75 board are available. Holly Kopp is running unopposed for another three-year term, but the two shorter-term seats have drawn four people: Sarah Ward, Jane Quirion, Don Koslosky and Bill Keleher.

The two partial terms, which expire in November 2020, result from vacancies caused by the resignations of Jane Scease as of Sept. 30, and Matt Drewette-Card on June 30. Koslosky was appointed by Topsham selectmen to fill Scease’s term through this November, and Patrick Coen is filling Drewette-Card’s until that time as well.

Bill Keleher

Keleher said he has “a civic responsibility” to serve on the board, seeing it as an extension of having two children attend district schools. With a new superintendent and assistant superintendent in place, “I want to build on the momentum we have … we’ve got a good foundation.”

Running a science-based business that has hosted Mt. Ararat High students, Keleher wants to focus on the district’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum.

Keleher said operating Kennebec River Biosciences has made him a “jack of all trades,” with various experiences such as finance management under his belt.

“I really want to see what the (board) processes are and whether those can be improved upon or changed,” he said.

Keleher, along with Brandy Robertson of Bowdoin, had earlier this year penned a letter calling for the board to vote on removing then-Chairwoman Kim Totten. Their letter criticized Totten’s “poor leadership skills and a complete lack of transparency and accountability.”

Don Koslosky

With Oct. 1 being Koslosky’s first day on the board filling Scease’s term, he had yet to find anything he’d want to change or improve upon.

“Getting my feet wet is going to be more of what I’m looking to do right now,” he said.

Helping out a district hockey team in need of money sparked Koslosky’s interest in attending SAD 75 board meetings and getting further involved.

“I bring an open mind,” Koslosky said. “… I can be molded into a decent board member.”

If elected, “it’s going to be a learning curve for me,” he said. “I’m willing to listen to the teachers who have their boots on the ground.”

Jane Quirion

If chosen to serve a one-year term, Quirion said she would like to “improve upon the interactions with parents who ask questions.”

“Because the response I received as a parent was not ‘hey, let’s figure this out;’ it was ‘let’s pound you into the ground,'” Quirion said.

Quirion, along with her husband, Matthew Pollack, sued SAD 75 in 2013 for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of their son, Ben Pollack. Now 19, he has autism and a language disorder and is nonverbal. Since he was unable to communicate about what happens during the school day, his parents wanted him to be able to wear a recording device in school, which the School Department rejected.

The case escalated to the Boston-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which in March 2018 ruled in favor of SAD 75.

The “tone of dealing with parents” must change, Quirion said.

She would bring a different perspective to the board, pointing out that she isn’t sure it has had many members “who’ve had children on both sides of the educational spectrum.”

In her legal practice, Quirion focuses on estate planning.

“I try to find solutions,” she said.

Sarah Ward

Residents and taxpayers are always looking for more transparency on the School Board, which Ward said she supports within reason. Discussions such as teacher salary negotiations must be held behind closed doors, but she would like to see greater community involvement and greater connections between board members and SAD 75 taxpayers.

“I love the opportunity to collaborate with people from all parts of the district and community, and I think that I have a very open mind and an open ear to be able to bring a collaborative spirit, but also a fresh face,” Ward said, adding she would be bringing her perspective as a parent to the table.

If elected, Ward would continue as Sagadahoc County treasurer, a role to which she was elected last year. Scease, her predecessor, maintained that position while serving on the School Board, Ward pointed out.

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