10 candidates seek 3 Scarborough School Board seats

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SCARBOROUGH — In the largest field of candidates in a Board of Education election in the town’s history, 10 candidates are seeking three, three-year seats on Nov. 6.

Two of the positions are held by current Chairwoman Mary Starr, who is not seeking re-election, and long-time board member Jackie Perry, who is termed out.

The third is open because former Chairwoman Donna Beeley was recalled in May, although her term is expiring.

The Forecaster is profiling the 10 candidates in two groups of five; the second story will run next week.

John Cloutier

Cloutier said he is running for the board primarily because he cares about the community and wants to be involved. Cloutier said there is a need to shift the dialogue and improve the culture, safety and outcomes of the district. The community should be energized to make thoughtful change, and move past the discord of the prior nine months, he said.

Cloutier did not support the recall of Beeley, Cari Lyford and Jodi Shea last May, and although he said he understands the frustrations expressed by many who did, he does not believe recalling School Board members was the right approach to achieve the objectives of the Road to Renewal group.

The candidate said the district needs to be prepared to address the implementation of proficiency-based education, with a policy in place during the transition, and said it must be approached in the right way. He said he supports the concept, but believes the state’s attempt at implementation was not effective.

Cloutier also said while technology is useful in education, there needs to be more emphasis and a conversation about more activity for students. He said communication and creativity are also important aspects of education to consider for balance.

Leroy Crockett

Crockett has worked with youth in the community through coaching and has served on various school and sports committees.

He said he is running because he grew up in the district, where his children are also being educated. Crockett would like to focus on providing assistance for students with special needs, and said the decision-making process in the system should not be a top-down approach, but should come from the community and educators.

Crockett said members of the board lost touch with the community, and the recall vote was a balance check. However, he did not support the methods used in the recall.

He said he is also focused on the implementation of proficiency-based education and how it will affect students.

Crockett said the town is not as divided as people think and he would help to ensure everybody has a voice.

Nicholas Gill

Gill, who supported the Road to Renewal group and the recall effort, said he was aware of a disconnect with the leaders of the school system and the community, and said at board meetings he noticed it was not healthy, representative governance.

He said boards and councils are elected to represent the people, but he felt members of the community did not feel they were heard.

If elected, Gill said he would first work on building trust and transparency and addressing concerns with leadership by carefully evaluating and examining future contracts.

Gill is also focused on the implementation of proficiency-based education standards, and figuring out which version of implementation is best for the town. He said the method’s tenets are good in that they help students achieve basic abilities and competency, but in its blanket form presents challenges. The merits are not the issue, but rather what is to be fleshed out, or set aside, he said.

He said with experience in educational administration he understands the politics of leadership and wants to focus on the staff and students. He said he knows first-hand that staff works to ensure the best for students in part because some educators are still working in Scarborough schools who taught him as a student.

Betsy Gleysteen

Gleysteen said Scarborough has an excellent system and achieves a lot through partnerships with volunteers, staff, parents, and taxpayers.

She said she supported the recall effort because no one voice should overtake others.

Gleysteen said there is a lot to preserve within the current system, but also space for improvement. She said her strengths lie in sharing ideas and engaging others and, if elected, she would consider change carefully and build up a partnership with stakeholders who, she said, are out of sync.

Gleysteen’s priorities include gathering feedback from graduates on their preparedness for college and the workforce. Another focus would be school safety by proposing a school community watch and safety devices in the classroom, such as tools to bar doors.

Additionally, she would like to explore options for updating technology in classrooms and determine what systems need to be refreshed, as well as researching a cell phone use policy in school.

Lori Lavoie

Lavoie said she would like to have a collaborative effort with education issues to include all perspectives. When a new idea is adopted, she said the board needs to prepare the community and evaluate changes during a testing phase before full implementation.

She would also advocate for more physical activity and wellness in all grades, citing studies that show activity is important for student success and mitigates behavioral issues in the classroom. She has witnessed this by working with at-risk youth struggling with issues such as anxiety, homelessness, and depression, she said.

“I’ve been wanting to take a more active role in our school community and after this past year I have decided it is time to put myself out there and help serve our students and school system,” she said.

Lavoie said she did not support the recall although she appreciates the fact that a process exists. She didn’t agree with all board decisions, Lavoie said, but didn’t believe the board was incompetent.

Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or at jlaaka@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JulietteLaaka. 

Age: 44

Residence: Wildwood Lane

Family: Married, three daughters

Occupation: Self-employed business owner

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bryant University

Political/civic experience: President of Portland Porpoise Swim Club

Website/social media: https://www.facebook.com/CloutierForSchools/

Age: 49

Residence: Pleasant Hill Road

Family: Single, two children

Occupation: Account manager for waste service company

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business management from University of Southern Maine

Political/civic experience: Scarborough Chamber of Commerce, Scarborough Rotary Club, president of Buy Local Scarborough, Zoning Board of Appeals.

Website/social media: https://www.facebook.com/lcrocke4/

Age: 38

Residence: Pleasant Hill Road

Family: Engaged

Occupation: Associate dean at York County Community College

Education: Doctoral in educational leadership, master’s degree in adult education, bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry.

Political/civic experience: Volunteered with Equality Maine

Website/social media: https://www.facebook.com/Gill4SBOE/

Age: 55

Residence: Longmeadow Road

Family: Married, son, daughter

Occupation: Project manager and data analyst

Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics

Political/civic experience: Former municipal officer and school board member in Frye Island.

Website/social media: https://www.facebook.com/betsygboe

Age: 39

Residence: Clearwater Drive

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Associate broker with Keller Williams Realty

Education: Master’s degree in the administration of justice, with a concentration in counseling

Political/civic experience: Volunteer at Pleasant Hill School for daughter’s classrooms and field trips, member of the Portland Board of Realtors, social recreation and education director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport, Rhode Island.

Website/social media: https://www.facebook.com/lorilavoieforBoE/

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