No contests, 1 write-in candidate in South Portland, Scarborough school elections

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SOUTH PORTLAND — School Board candidates in the city and in Scarborough are uncontested in the Nov. 8 election.

In South Portland, Stanford Street resident Jennifer Kirk announced she is running as a write-in candidate in District 1, where no one filed to be on the ballot.

Kirk decided to run after an appeal by School Board Chairman Richard Matthews, who knocked on doors last week in search of a candidate.

The only candidate on the ballot for the District 2 seat in South Portland is Otis Thompson, of 46 Hillside Ave. 

Thompson is a retired elementary school educator and administrator, who worked primarily in Portland during his career, as well as in Bridgton and Topsham. 

He served two terms on the Portland School Board in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and is a former president of the Maine Teachers Association. 

He has lived in greater Portland since 1975 with his wife, with whom he has three children who attended school in South Portland. 

According to the city clerk’s office, Kirk is the only resident who has notified the city she will run as a write-in. Write-in candidates, however, do not have to inform city officials that they are running. 

District 1 includes the neighborhoods near Ferry Village, Willard Beach and Bug Light Park.

Kirk was born and raised in South Portland, is a member of the Ferry Village Conservation Commission and works for the Boys and Girls Club. She and her husband have two sons, one of whom attends school in South Portland. 

“This is about the kids, (and) it’s important to me that they have a voice,” Kirk said Tuesday. 

She said she wants to make herself as accessible as possible for parents. With issues like how to configure the city’s middle schools, it’s important to go into the position with “no agenda,” she said.

Matthews, who was elected to the board as a write-in candidate for the first time nearly 10 years ago, said he wasn’t trying to find a candidate with a specific agenda – just any candidate at all. 

“I’m not showing favoritism, (and) I don’t want anyone to think I’m hand-picking. I just want to make sure we fill that position and have a respectable board,” he said. 

In an area that usually produces a lot of local activism and involvement in city functions, Matthews said he was “absolutely amazed” that it wasn’t easier to find someone who would agree to run.

Scarborough 

In Scarborough, meanwhile, School Board incumbents Jodie Shea and Cari Lyford are both unopposed for re-election.

Shea, of Windsor Pines Drive, is seeking her second term on the board. She is chairwoman of the Finance Committee, and works as the operations manager for the Maine Real Estate Network. She was previously a board member of the Scarborough Education Foundation and an account executive for Boston Magazine. 

Lyford, of Hunter Point Drive, is seeking election to her first full, three-year term. She was elected last November to finish the term of board member Jane Leng, who resigned. 

Lyford has taught at the elementary school level in the greater Portland area. 

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.