Promising change and improvement to the education system, two Topsham residents are vying for a seat on the Maine School Administrative District 75 School Board in November.

Newcomer Haley Kulas is running against a former board member Jim Burak.

Previously, Burak was appointed to carry out the remaining three months of board member Sara Ward’s term, following her resignation in July 2021. Burak ran for the position that November, but lost to Amy Spelk.

Here’s what the candidates told the Times Record.

Jim Burak

MSAD 75 school board candidate Jim Burak. Photo contributed by Jim Burak

Tell the voters about yourself


My name is Jim Burak. I have lived in Topsham for 22 years. I am married and have one child. I am an electrician by trade and currently work at Bath Iron Works. I enjoy the outdoors. I spend most of my time supporting Topsham’s Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop. From helping the Scouts with parking cars at the Topsham Fair to coaching a scout on their Eagle Scout project. I volunteer as much as I can. I always tell people it is not my place to say no if I can say yes. I don’t want to someday inventory my life and wonder if I did all I could have.

Why are you running for this seat?

I am running for the same reason I ran last time. To try and be part of a change to improve education and change the relationship the school board has with students, parents and taxpayers of Topsham. It is too often we see in the media the chaos and anger in school board meetings. I had the privilege to hold a seat on the board for three months and I was able to show everyone what kind of representative I would be. I listened carefully to everyone’s concerns and asked many questions. My votes were careful, and I considered what was best for the students. At times I personally wanted to vote one way, but I voted in the way I felt the people of Topsham wanted me to vote.

What are the biggest challenges or concerns facing your town/district in the coming term?

I don’t like politics in school. I don’t like seeing what is happening around schools across our country and I want to do my part from keeping that from coming to our schools.

What are your top priorities if elected?


As a member of a committee, no one person should have personal priorities. As I proved the last time I was on the School Board, the board works as a group. So, I would say my priority would be to become part of the team. To show people that, if treated with kindness and respect people with different views can come together and find common ground.

Haley Kulas

MSAD 75 school board candidate Haley Kulas and her son Felix. Photo contributed by Haley Kulas

Tell the voters about yourself.

I am married with six amazing children who attend MSAD 75 schools from kindergarten to high school. My profession is a baker/caterer, where coordination and implementation require hard work, organization, and adherence to a schedule, to make sure our events are successful. Our work flourishes because of my family and my coworkers. As a team, we all support each other to succeed, and that’s the philosophy I want to take to the school board.

Why are you running for the seat?

I am running not only because I have a vested interest and a lot to offer, but because I believe in the power that a good public education can provide. It works best when administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and the community come together for the good of the students. I am grateful for the love and support my kids have been given in the district, and I want to give that back.


What are the biggest challenges or concerns facing your town/district in the coming term?

Finding and retaining great staff is the biggest concern in the district. Right now, getting kids to school safely and making sure they are getting an adequate education is difficult without enough staff. Our administrators, teachers, and support staff are working really hard to succeed together. I want to do everything I can as a school board member to problem-solve and support them, so they in turn can support our kids.

What are your top priorities if elected?

First, I intend to listen and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges the district is facing. I want to get to know the other board members and look for opportunities where we can collaborate and solve problems together. I am also really looking forward to working with the new superintendent. For committee service, I will look to see where the greatest need is and utilize my skills where they fit best.

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