The two candidates vying for a seat on the School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors say they hope to bring stability to a district that has seen near-constant turnover on the board and in the superintendent’s office in recent years in the SAD that governs schools in Harpswell, Topsham, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham.

Ryan Larsen of Harpswell Neck and Tyler Washburn of Orr’s Island hope to fill the seat occupied by Linda Hall, who is not pursuing reelection after 12 years on the board.

Ryan Larsen, 47, with his daughters Scottie, at left, Elli, center and Marin. All three attend SAD 75 schools. Contributed / Ryan Larsen

“High turnover on our Board and the absence of a long-term Superintendent has stymied progress in our District,” Washburn wrote in an email to The Forecaster. “I am running for the School Board because I believe that, now more than ever, experience matters.”

Washburn, 28, grew up attending Topsham schools and served as a student representative to the board from 2009 to 2011. He was elected as a Bowdoin representative to the board in 2018 and served as chairperson in 2019 before resigning in early 2021 upon his move to Harpswell.

Larsen is a newcomer to local politics, though his three daughters have attended Harpswell schools for a decade. Originally from South Dakota, Larsen moved to the Bangor area after college and then to Harpswell with his family in 2010.

“I’m a big believer and advocate for public education,” said Larsen, 47, on his decision to run. “I went through public education – high school, college, everything. I’m an advocate for supporting the teachers.”


While Larsen is an independent and Washburn is a Republican, both candidates minimized the role politics plays on the board of directors and said they would work to bring unity to the district.

Tyler Washburn, 28, previously served on the SAD 75 Board of Directors as a student and as a Bowdoin representative. Contributed / Tyler Washburn

“I’m a pretty open-minded person who wants to hear perspectives from all sides to help me form and make my own decisions,” said Larsen, who works in merchandising and product development for L.L.Bean. “I bring professional experience as a team builder and have a lot of experience bringing people in, collaborating with people.”

Washburn, an assistant tax collector and deputy town clerk for the town of Topsham,  said his record speaks for itself.

“I have always believed in finding common ground. I also know that the key to finding common ground is listening,” he said.

Washburn supports cutting the board’s membership from 14 to seven, which, he said, would maintain the current power balance between the district’s towns while streamlining meetings and placing greater weight on student voices.

Larsen cited inclusivity and mental health as top priorities, along with improving the district’s test scores.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Harpswell Community School on March 12. Absentee ballots are available at the town office until the close of business March 9.

The election’s winner, who will begin his three-year term on June 25, may not be Harpswell’s only new representative to the Board. On March 17, the town’s Select Board will choose a new school board member to serve the final year of Alison Hawkes’ term, after Hawkes resigned in January due to disagreements over the district’s mask mandate. Heather Logan, Gregory Greenleaf, Greta Warren and Washburn submitted applications to fill the post.

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