PORTLAND — Anna Trevorrow was chosen Monday afternoon to lead the Portland School Board for a second year.
During the inauguration ceremony held at City Hall, incoming board members Tim Atkinson, Mark Balfantz and Marnie Morrione were also sworn in.
Atkinson represents District four, Balfantz is an at-large representative and Morrione is the District 5 incumbent.
In an informal caucus held last week, the board was divided between giving Trevorrow a second term as chairwoman or instead choosing Jenna Vendil.
However, by the time board members gathered Monday there was unanimous support for Trevorrow.
While there are only two new faces on the nine-member board, Trevorrow said Monday still marked “the beginning of a newly constituted Board of Education, comprising all the strengths, experiences and ambitions that we each bring to the table.”
Looking back, she said, it’s “been a privilege to serve as the board chair for the last year,” adding “there are many successes” to celebrate.
Among those successes, Trevorrow said, are “equity resolutions condemning hate speech and asserting a safe haven for Muslim students, state recognition of our exemplary staff, the launch of the TeachPortland program and passage of the (new) transgender policy.”
“I am most proud, however, of having been a part of the launch of the Portland Promise,” she said, “our pledge to the community to … intensify our efforts to ensure that all our graduates are prepared and empowered to succeed in college and career.”
Trevorrow also commended her fellow board members for their commitment to pursuing “best practices in education today” and for their belief that the “students of our community deserve the best.”
In looking forward, Trevorrow said it was an honor to serve as the board chairwoman once again.
During the past year, she said, “I have gained insights into the importance of education to our community, and the roles of the board, the chair, the superintendent, staff and City Council in building a strong educational system in Portland.”
Trevorrow added “the board’s role is to work with our community and stakeholders to set a vision for the district and then to enable our skilled and capable staff to do their work, with board support and guidance. … The Portland Promise challenges us to work with each other and to effectively communicate our goals to the community in order to achieve them.”
With the passage of a $64.2 million bond to renovate and upgrade Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot, and Reiche schools, and with falling state and federal dollars for public education, she acknowledged city schools “will face a challenging budget year.”
In preparing the fiscal year 2018-19 budget, she said, “We will need to make many important decisions to allocate our resources in ways that allow us to make progress toward our goals and enhance the overall student experience.”
“Heading into the next year, I pledge to lead our district’s effort in conjunction with the City Council and our state legislative delegation to ensure that we obtain and steward our resources to the best possible results,” Trevorrow said.
“It takes great schools to have a great city (and) we have been charged with fulfilling this community’s vision for those great schools,” she added.
In 2018, Trevorrow said, “We will open the new Hall Elementary School and we will begin the process of rebuilding Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot, and Reiche schools.”
In addition, “We will find out where Portland High School and the PATHS/Casco Bay High School projects fit into the state’s major construction programs. And we will complete the Casco Bay Great Room (capital) project.”
Even so, Trevorrow said, “We still have significant remaining facility needs” that must be addressed.
She also noted, however, that “schools are more than brick and mortar” and said the School Board has “significant work ahead to support the implementation of proficiency-based learning, supporting teaching and learning and building our staff’s capacity to serve our diverse student population.”
“We have an exciting and promising year ahead and I know I speak for all of my fellow board members, the superintendent and district staff in saying that we are looking forward to the (new) year,” Trevorrow said.
In closing, she added, “Over the next year I look forward to leading our board to advance our goals and ensure efficient and effective management and to support our administration and staff.”
Tim Atkinson, left, Mark Balfantz, student representative Isabel Clayter from Portland High School, and Marnie Morrione are sworn in to the School Board Monday, Dec. 4, at Portland City Hall.