Two write-in candidates and a newcomer ousted incumbents on the Falmouth School Board last week in what the winners say is a clear message of residents’ discontent with the board.

Analiese Larson, Emily Martin and Alicia Johnson were the winners June 13, defeating Jennifer Libby and Matthew Pines in what ended up as a five-way race for three available seats. The third seat was vacated by Christopher Hickey, who did not seek reelection.

Until Larson and Martin launched their write-in campaign about two weeks before the election, the three candidates already on the ballot were shoo-ins, running unopposed. The write-in campaign quickly gained traction, however, and Larson and Martin garnered the most votes, 1,265 votes and 1,216, respectively, followed by Johnson with 788, Libby with 705 and Pines with 597, according to unofficial election results from the town clerk. A total of 1,884 votes were cast.

Falmouth voters also approved the $46.4 million school budget with a 6.7% property tax increase 1,432 to 361.

Voters’ displeasure with the school board is obvious, Martin told The Forecaster.

“The status quo wasn’t working for a lot of people, and changes need to be made,” she said.



She and Larson framed the last-minute campaign “as the beginnings of a school board refresh in the wake of a tumultuous school year.” In their campaign announcement, they gave as examples of “board mismanagement” the “unnecessarily contentious teacher contract negotiations and a misguided approach to campus master planning efforts.”

Larson credits her time on the school board from 2008 to 2014 as a main reason for her win last week. She has experience dealing with “tremendous change” in the school district, she told The Forecaster, and believes her commitment to open communication will serve the town well.

“I believe in timely, transparent and responsible communication. I think the public sends a very strong message that they agree with us,” Larson said.

Johnson agrees.

The school board, teachers and the Falmouth community need to come together and have the tough conversations, Johnson said. Issues like teacher contracts were “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for residents, driving them to elect new school board members.

“I think that people are frustrated and don’t feel that they’ve received enough communication back and forth between the school board currently,” Johnson said.



Accessibility to school board meetings is a priority for both Martin and Larson. Accessibility to school board meetings is a priority for both Martin and Larson. They want every school board meeting livestreamed and recorded so the public is able to engage and participate in board decisions.

“The community message is that they want access,” Martin said. “They want to understand not just what decisions are being made, but how they’re being made. That’s important to us.”

Pines said the day after the election that while the outcome of the race may reflect voters’ general level of discontent with the board, that message may have been misplaced.

“To have two people with 55 years combined of education and youth development experience not return to the board, I’m not sure that sends the best message that students are the first priority,” Pines said.

Pines, who was elected to the board in 2020, owns and operates Maine Teen Camp. Libby, a middle school teacher in Scarborough who had served two nonconsecutive terms on the Falmouth School Board, did not respond to requests for comment.

Johnson has experience working with public schools. She co-founded a group that worked to prioritize funding for public schools over charter schools in Oakland, California, and she was an advocate for teachers there when they went on strike. Martin, a small business owner who has been involved in Falmouth schools as a parent, most recently was a parent leader during teacher contract negotiations.

The three new board members say they are ready to get to work.

“The most humbling thing is that people put their trust in me to make things better for their schools and their community,” Larson said. “How could you not feel energized and excited to get to work?”

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