Portland School Board welcomes new, re-elected members

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PORTLAND — The newest members of the School Board were sworn in Monday afternoon.

Stephanie Hatzenbuehler, who won the open seat in District 4; John Eder, who won the open at-large seat, and re-elected board member Marnie Morrione, from District 5, were inaugurated in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

All three will serve for three years.

Sarah Thompson was sworn in for another term as chairwoman, after being re-elected unanimously by the board on Monday.

In her remarks, Thompson hit on several issues she said the School Department has done well over the course of the year, including an e-newsletter for parents and community members to stay informed on district issues; the STEM Expo, which showcased projects by students in early November; moving into new headquarters at 353 Cumberland Ave.; receiving funds for a new Hall School with hopes to occupy the new school by 2018, and extending Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk’s contract to 2019.

She said the board will “continue the transformative work” it has been doing to meet its goals, like having all high school students graduate from high school, and student demonstration of college readiness in a number of areas.

Thompson said the board will continue to “create a district known for innovation.”

Three student representatives were also inaugurated at Monday’s
ceremony: Sophie VanDerburgh of Casco Bay High School, Sahra Ahmed of
Deering High School, and John Phan of Portland High School. They are non-voting members serving one-year terms, and are elected by their student peers.

The board also recognized outgoing members Justin Costa, who was elected to the City Council, and former member Elizabeth Brooks, who stepped down in January, as well as outgoing student representatives Hallie Repeta of Portland High School and Mohamed Nur of Deering High School.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Sidebar Elements

School Board meetings move to City Hall, schools

PORTLAND — Beginning Feb. 3, 2015, the School Board will hold its regular meeting on the first Tuesday of each month in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

The board will hold its second monthly meeting, which happens on the third Tuesday of each month, at alternating schools around the city. A calendar of meeting locations will be posted on the Portland Public Schools’ website to provide predictability and greater public notification.

The board currently holds its two regular monthly meetings at Casco Bay High School, on Allen Avenue inside the Portland Arts and Technology High School.

In a press release, Chairwoman Sarah Thompson said holding the meetings at CBHS “is a challenge for some of our families and community members.” She continued, saying the board had explored meeting in the City Council Chambers for several years, and called the solution “the best of both worlds.”

Thompson said the board met in the chambers “more than a decade ago,” but the meetings were moved “due to the city’s space needs and the need specifically for Council Chambers at that time.”

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.