October 27, 2023

In the public eye: STEM teacher promotes technology as key to student success

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

Jennifer Beaulieu believes that if education is the foundation for a student’s future, then STEM education is what is needed for them to be successful in the future.

Jennifer Beaulieu is the STEM/Industrial Tech
teacher at Jordan-Small Middle School in
Raymond and instructs fifth through eighth-grade
students in technology such as computer skills, coding,
3D design and printing and wood shop.

Beaulieu is the STEM/Industrial Tech teacher at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond and instructs fifth through eighth-grade students in technology such as computer skills, coding, 3D design and printing, and wood shop. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Along with those duties, Beaulieu also oversees the Jordan-Small Lego Club and is advising a group of students about fundraising to purchase a laser engraver for the school.

“I am able to teach hands-on real-life skills that demonstrate why the other subjects they are learning are important,” Beaulieu said. “For example, learning fractions is not always easy for students to understand, but when they can use those skills and see why they need them, it makes it easier for them to remember for the long term.”

She started teaching at Jordan-Small in January 2023 as a long-term substitute teacher for health classes and liked it there, so she applied for an opening in a position that allows her to teach subjects she enjoys and was hired full-time.

According to Beaulieu, the most challenging aspect of her job is planning lessons that keep students interested and hopefully fuel a desire in them to learn and make them responsible.

“In a world where the internet gives people instantaneous answers to any question, students are learning to persevere and learn through productive struggle,” she said. “It’s easier to just give them the answer, but it is more memorable if they figure it out themselves.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Beaulieu joined the U.S. Coast Guard when she finished high school. When her enlistment was up, she was living in Wisconsin and went to college to be a Certified Medical Assistant. She worked in cardiology for a while and then earned a bachelor's degree in business and health care management.

“I was also teaching martial arts at my family’s karate studio in Chicago during this time,” she said. “I realized that teaching was more of a passion for me than health care, so I went back to college again. In 2008, I earned my master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University, and was finally able to pursue teaching as a career. In 2017, I went to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for certification as an ESL teacher.”

Her first teaching position was at an Expeditionary Learning High School in Kenosha Wisconsin. There she served as a special education teacher and co-taught biology, algebra, and geometry. She transferred to Washington Middle School for three years until 2017 when she became an ESL teacher at ITA High School and Academy. In July 2020, Beaulieu and her husband moved to Maine to start a nature trail and she got a teaching job at Lake Region Middle School.

“I was planning to take a year off of teaching because my husband and I are starting a nature education trail in Sumner and I wanted to take the time to get it up and running,” Beaulieu said. “Michelle Brann was the assistant principal when I taught at Lake Region Middle School, and she talked about how great Jordan-Small Middle School is and asked me to be the long-term substitute for health. I’m so glad that she did, because now I have my dream job in a wonderful school with amazing people.”

She’s also breaking the traditional image in her teaching duties in Raymond.

“When most think of a shop teacher, I don’t think I fit the traditional image, both physically and through my teaching methods,” Beaulieu said. “When I was in school, the shop teacher was a big gruff man that just let you go into the shop and use the machines with little pre-teaching except to tell you not to lose a finger. I teach safety as well as technique and set-up of each tool, so they can take these skills beyond shop class and hopefully beyond just one project. Similar to the Performance Qualification Standards (PQS) we had in the Coast Guard, the students need to have their book signed-off by me in order to use the tools, even the hand saws and hammer.”

As a teacher, Beaulieu says she’s learned one important thing.

“A school will only run well if the team is cooperative and working with the students’ future as the priority,” she said. “If decisions are made with the student’s best interest in mind, then you are moving toward the right path.” <

PWD’s Sebago Lakescaping program offers financial help to shoreland property owners

By Kendra Raymond

Did you know that shoreland property owners on Sebago Lake and some tributaries may be eligible for a Portland Water District Lakescaping grant to help defray the costs associated with erosion control and stormwater runoff projects?

Erosion poses a significant risk to the health of the lake, allowing contaminants and harmful nutrients to enter quickly through well-worn paths toward the water. Lakescaping grants offer an exciting opportunity for property owners to flex their creative muscles by coming up with lake friendly solutions to various runoff issues facing their property.

Environmental experts at PWD provide a resource for educating waterfront landowners about challenges and potential solutions. They encourage planting native species which grow well without added water or fertilizer. It is also suggested that pathways can be reconfigured to a more winding route and supplemented with erosion control mulch.

“When you are at your lake property in the summer, do you really want to spend time mowing your lawn? That doesn’t seem fun,” said Nathan Whalen, a Water Resources Specialist with PWD. “We can help provide a low maintenance natural setting that is better for the lake, adds some privacy and looks nice too.”

To be eligible, your property must be in one of the towns that border the lake including Raymond, Windham, Casco, Frye Island, Naples, Sebago, or Standish, Raymond. It must be within 250 feet of Sebago Lake or its tributary rivers: Crooked, Muddy, North West, Sticky and Songo as well as Panther Run, Rich Mill Outlet, Smith Mill, and Standish Brook.

PWD will offer 50 percent of a project cost up to $1,000 for private shoreland owners. For businesses, summer camps, or other groups, PWD will contribute up to 50 percent of a $2,000 project.

Interested in applying for a Sebago Lakescaping grant? The process is simple. Reach out to PWD by email at sebagolake@pwd.org to request a free lakescaping consultation. A specialist will evaluate your property for possible erosion and runoff issues.

Following the visit, you will receive a free lakescaping report containing recommendations for your site. Of course, you will not be required to perform the work – this is simply a guideline.

Check out the Sebago Lakescaping site for suggested plant and materials lists.

If you decide to move forward with the project, simply fill out the one-page grant application and return it to PWD. Once approved, you are “good to go”! Work can be performed by you or a contractor. Take “before” pictures and save your receipts.

Following implementation of the project, simply reach back out to PWD for a site visit, then wait to receive your grant.

How do I benefit?

A lakescaping grant is a win-win for everyone. By improving your property, the value is increased, and you benefit by enjoying a more beautiful spot. Depending on your plant selections, you may also be nurturing our environment by providing pollinator sources, attracting bees and butterflies. Small mammals will also appreciate snacking on your lakescape if it contains small berries and greens.

How does this help the lake?

Installing a lakescape produces an enduring effect on the overall health of the lake. A vegetative buffer eases erosion caused by boat wake. Slow runoff prevents excessive leaching of pollutants, thus preserving water quality for everyone to enjoy.

Portland Water District’s website explains that PWD has the unique distinction of maintaining a legal exemption from the filtration requirement of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The exemption, granted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and reviewed annually by the Maine Drinking Water Program, means that water from Sebago Lake is already so clean that filtering it is unnecessary. To maintain this status, Sebago Lake water quality must meet strict criteria and PWD must maintain an effective watershed control program.

PWD manages and delivers water service from its Sebago Lake source to 11 communities in the Greater Portland area, reaching 200,000 people. The organization’s commitment to maintaining exceptional water quality is reflected in the lakescaping grant opportunity.

The Sebago Lake Protection office is located at 1 White Rock Road (Routes 237 and 35) in Standish and is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can be reached by phone at 207-774-5961, by email at sebagolake@pwd.org, or visit https://www.pwd.org/sebago-lakescaping-program <

Scholarship recipient grateful for opportunity to give back to community

By Ed Pierce

A Windham student who graduated from the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in June has been awarded a $10,000 college scholarship by the Mitchell Institute, a nonprofit scholarship and research organization.

Emma Bennett of Windham, who graduated from
Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in June,
has been awarded a $10,000 college scholarship
from the Mitchell Institute.
Emma Bennett of Windham is among 166 students from across Maine who have been named as Mitchell Scholars and will receive Mitchell Scholarships, which are split into four $2,500 installments and include personal, academic, and professional support.

The Portland-based Mitchell Institute was founded by former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell of Maine to improve college outcomes for students from every community in the state.

Mitchell Institute President and CEO Jared Cash said that The Mitchell Institute is honored to offer the scholars a $10,000 scholarship along with signature events and resources that are designed to meet scholars where they are and support them in college and well into their professional careers.

“Each scholar represents the best of our great state and reflects Senator Mitchell’s vision of investing in young people so they, in turn, can strengthen their communities,” Cash said.

Throughout college and the years following, the Mitchell Scholars will have opportunities to engage with Mitchell Institute programs and resources focusing on financial assistance, leadership training, and academic and career support, Mitchell Institute officials say. The new class of Mitchell Scholars will join 437 currently enrolled scholars who collectively will receive more than $5 million in awards from the Mitchell Institute during their college careers.

All the college-bound students in the 2023 scholar class, including Bennett, have distinguished themselves through academic excellence and community involvement. With financial and programmatic support from the Mitchell Institute, some 88 percent of Mitchell Scholars complete college and achieve a degree, compared with 58 percent nationally, and more than 90 percent earn all As and Bs in their college courses.

Bennett said she was surprised to learn she was awarded the $10,000 scholarship.

“What I felt was shock followed by an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief.,” Bennett said. “The Mitchell institute was the most prestigious institution I'd applied to, the Mitchell scholarship being the most rewarding package. Although I'd completed the application to the best of my ability, my expectations were low. Up until my name was called, my parents didn't even know I had sent in an application. It was a pleasant surprise all around. Words can't describe how incredibly grateful I am for this honor.”

She plans to take this school year off to travel, work, and refine her resume before entering college.

“I'm currently employed at Ledgewood, a nursing home in Windham, where I've been saving up for my college tuition for next year. I've been saving for several trips this year, the main one being a trip to Taiwan to visit relatives on my mom's side and care for my grandmother who is now suffering from stage two breast cancer,” Bennett said. “It's been eight years since I officially moved back to the U.S., having spent the bulk of my childhood accompanying my dad on his business trips to and from Taiwan as he taught English for a living. For the past month, I've been reconnecting with my roots, meeting new people, and rediscovering aspects of Taiwan culture that never occurred to me as a child growing up there. In the winter, I will be traveling to England with a friend, getting a taste of European culture and visiting colleges in the London area. In short, this year is what I'm hoping will be a year of enlightenment for me. When I attend college in 2024, I hope to study civil or structural engineering.”

After college, Bennett, 18, hopes to become a licensed civil engineer that specializes in sustainable solutions.

She is the daughter of Nathaniel Bennett and Nini Bennett and attended Baxter Academy for all four years of high school.

“There are several reasons why Baxter was a perfect fit for me: There were numerous opportunities for independent hands-on projects which I felt gave me an edge in project management and work ethic,” Bennett said. “My teachers were incredibly supportive throughout each step of the college preparatory process. Above all, I prized the fact that, in a school with students of various personalities and backgrounds, everyone shared a collective goal and passion for learning.”

Her advice for students who wish to earn a Mitchell Scholarship is simple.

“Focus on a singular quality or interest that makes you unique and build on it,” Bennett said. “Find ways in which it can improve your community. Convey the best version of yourself.” <

Raymond Fire Rescue wraps up busy Fire Prevention Month

The Raymond Fire Rescue Department participated in a full month of activities in October, to teach fire safety to children and adults in the community.

For winning Raymond Elementary School's Coloring Contest
during Fire Prevention Month, fourth grader Grace Gillies, her
parents and sister, are congratulated by Raymond Fire-Rescue
Firefighter and Paramedic Carol Dennison.

This year the department provided fire safety training for 260 children at Raymond Elementary School, and another 63 in local daycare facilities and at the Raymond Village Library. The children at the school and the daycares all received a Halloween trick-or-treat bag with fire safety literature for the parents, including a card which parents can use to reinforce the fire safety messages that the children are taught.

A poster coloring event was held for the elementary school, and Raymond Elementary fourth grader Grace Gillies won a ride in a fire truck for her poster. Students in every grade in the school had a winner, and those winners were presented with a fire extinguisher at the school assembly on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

An Open House was held on Thursday evening, Oct. 12 that was attended by more than 100 family members. Food was served, children got to try their hand at squirting water and CPR compressions, and adults tried using a fire extinguisher.

Here are three things for all families to consider:

· Check your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms monthly to be sure they are operating. Working detectors save lives! Most detectors only have an operating life of seven to 10 years – so check the instructions and replace outdated detectors!

· Make sure everyone knows where the meeting place outside is, and that no one should stop on the way for anything or go back into the home for any reason. Furnishings today burn very hot and fast!

· Everyone should close their doors at night to prevent smoke and flames entering bedrooms. If the smoke alarm goes off, and you cannot evacuate, keep the door closed, open a window, and throw things outside so the firefighters know where you are.

For all families with children, we ask that you review the fire safety videos that Raymond Fire and Rescue Department has online:

· For K-2 students, there is an under 6-minute video showing a firefighter suiting up, and why he is “not scary.” To view, go to: https://www.raymondmaine.org/content/suiting

· For 3 and 4 grades, there is an under 12-minute video which discusses kitchen safety, and how children should escape from their bedrooms at night if there is a fire. To view, go to: https://www.raymondmaine.org/content/kitchen-safety <

October 20, 2023

Raymond-Casco Historical Society celebrates anniversary with free event

By Kendra Raymond

Just when you thought most fall festivities were winding down, the Raymond-Casco Historical Society is offering the community an open house this Sunday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its incorporation. Get the family ready and head over to the museum between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to hear live musical performances, grab some free hot dogs and best of all – cake!

Visitors to the Raymond-Casco Historical
Museum will be able to experience views like
this inside the Friends Schoolhouse on the 
museum grounds during an event Sunday
marking the 50th anniversary of the 
historical society's incorporation. Music,
food and blacksmith demonstrations will
be part of the free family friendly event. 
The historical society will open its doors to visitors to explore the agricultural barn, the Friends schoolhouse, the main museum, and its newest addition – the Watkin’s blacksmith’s shop which opened its doors in May. Guests can expect to see the original forge, professional blacksmiths demonstrating their craft, and providing some history and explanations of their process. They will also be offering select pieces for sale.

As a very special treat, Skip Watkins will be opening his car barn for the event. This treasure trove is brimming with over 30 meticulously restored classic autos.

Frank McDermott, president of the RCHS said, “There are some pretty unique cars in there,” which might be an understatement, judging by his descriptions of the vehicles. “If you are an Oldsmobile fan, you won’t want to miss it,” although there are other models as well.

A typical visit to the museum could take a couple of hours, depending on the depth of each visitor’s interest. There is something for everyone.

The main museum features a broad collection of pieces relevant to the area, including tools, housewares, maps, photos, clothing, and school supplies. An adjacent barn contains farming and industrial implements and tools of the trade.

The Watkins Blacksmith Shop is the fourth building to be added to the campus and one of the oldest in Maine. Donated by Steve Linne, the building was painstakingly moved over a year’s time from its original site in Casco to join the exhibit. A battalion of specialists and volunteers tackled the Sisyphean task of restoring it to functionality, with completion taking place earlier this summer. There is still plenty of work to be done, including sorting items to aid in their preservation, ostensibly a great scout or school volunteer opportunity.

There are endless opportunities to help, and new ideas and energy are encouraged.

The historical society members would like to get the younger generation involved to ensure longevity of the museum’s mission, McDermott said.

The museum was built and donated by the Watkins family to the Historical Society. You may have noticed the brightly painted barn decorated with murals near the Casco-Naples line as you pass by on Route 302. According to the RCHS website, it was created in 1971 as an educational, charitable, non-profit, organization devoted to collection, preservation, and experiential learning which highlights the culture and working history of the Lakes Region Area.

The RCHS museum is coming off its best year ever, after hosting events and visitors throughout the spring and summer, McDermott said. This weekend’s open house serves as a thank you to everyone who has supported, visited, volunteered this season.

“This will be our concluding act for this year ‘til next spring,” said McDermott.

The museum will remain open Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. throughout the remainder of October and November. As always, admission is free to the public. New historical society members are always welcome and monthly meetings at the site are held on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. from May through October.

The Raymond Casco Historical Society Museum is located at 1 Shadow Lane in Casco, just off Route 302. More information can be found at https://raymondcascohistoricalsociety.org/ or follow them on Facebook or call 207-655-6389. Donations and volunteering are always welcome. <

Cleanup plan for Keddy Mill site chosen by EPA

By Ed Pierce

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen a cleanup plan for the Keddy Mill Superfund Site, located on Depot Street in South Windham, and the agency says work will soon start to clean up the soil, sediment, and groundwater at the site.

The Environmental Protection Agency has formally chosen a
plan to tear down the former Keddy Mill industrial building
at 7 Depot St. in South Windham along with cleaning up the
site and removing contaminants there. The site work is
funded by a federal Superfund program administered by
the EPA to safeguard human health and the environment.
The cleanup plan is based upon EPA's Remedial Investigation Report, human health and ecological risk assessments, the Feasibility Study, and comments received on EPA's Proposed Plan during a 30-day public comment period held over the summer.

“EPA’s cleanup plan for the Keddy Mill Superfund Site is a strong effort to ensure the health and safety of community members, protecting them for generations to come,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Cleaning up Superfund sites helps us ensure that no community, no family, and no child has to face exposure to chemicals and other dangerous substances in their day-to-day lives.”

The town of Windham is prepared and ready for the cleanup and site restoration effort to launch.

“The town is very pleased with the recently approved comprehensive cleanup plan and remedial alternatives for the Keddy Mill Superfund Site. Working with the EPA, local residents, and the state to achieve this milestone in planning the restoration for this site is exciting. This plan protects the human health or welfare of residents, the environment from actual or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants into the environment,” said Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts.

State environmental officials approve of the EPA’s cleanup plan and efforts at the Keddy Mill site.

“The Maine DEP is pleased to continue working with our partners at EPA and the citizens of Windham to address historical contamination at the Keddy Mill, eliminating the threats to public health and the environment and returning the property to a productive future,” said Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Melanie Loyzim.

EPA’s cleanup plan will take two to four years to design and execute and will take place after the significant completion of a Removal Action to demolish the mill complex and associated structures. 

The cleanup plan includes the following components:

* Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil and debris from the Mill Complex property
*Targeted treatment of soil (within the footprint of the excavation) with amendments in support of groundwater cleanup
* In place treatment of groundwater contaminants
* Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated sediments from the Presumpscot River
* Treatment of water generated from soil and sediment dewatering and removed from excavations based on applicable water discharge standards, as required
* Restoration of the portions of the Presumpscot River altered by the remedial cleanup action
* Land use restrictions to prevent exposure to site-related contaminants in groundwater and fish tissue until cleanup levels are met
* Inspections and operation and maintenance
* Monitoring of groundwater and fish tissue to evaluate the achievement of cleanup levels
* Five-Year Reviews to assess the protectiveness of the remedy.

EPA estimates that the total cost of this portion of the project, including construction, operation and maintenance, and long-term monitoring, will be about $17 million.

The property was first listed on the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 2014. The Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country to protect people's health and the environment.

Initial EPA actions there were launched in the 1980s. Data was collected during these investigations, as well as a fuel oil spill, resulting in two previous cleanup actions performed at the site. In 1997, an action to remove nearly 11 tons of petroleum-impacted soil from the north-central portion of the property was conducted in accordance with Maine Department of Environmental Protection requirements. In 2010, a second cleanup action removed accessible PCB-contaminated fuel oils in piping and PCB-contaminated sludge, dirt, debris, and oil materials within the buildings on the site.

EPA completed a thorough site investigation in January 2013 and a Hazard Ranking System package in April 2013. Following that, the Keddy Mill site was placed on the NPL Superfund list in May 2014. A Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study was initiated there in 2015 to determine the nature and extent of contamination and the risks posed to human health and the environment and evaluate alternative cleanup measures if necessary.

An Action Memorandum for a Non-time Critical Removal Action was signed by EPA and ITC LLC in 2018. That required that contaminated building materials must be removed from the site and sent to an off-site licensed hazardous waste site facility. The primary building contaminants exceeding acceptable human health standards included polychorinated biphenals (PCBs) and asbestos.

The site consists of a 6.93-acre abandoned mill complex property, located at 7 Depot St. (the Mill Complex Property), an adjacent reach of the Presumpscot River, and associated properties nearby. The mill site has a long history, with operations beginning in the late 1700s and ending in 1997. The building that will be demolished and removed was used as a grist and carding mill, pulp mill, box-board manufacturing facility and as a steel mill. Throughout the industrial history, several buildings have been demolished and others added to the mill complex. The site has contamination from various hazardous substances, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons.

More information

A copy of the cleanup plan, the Administrative Record supporting the cleanup plan, and other background information about the Keddy Mill Superfund Site can be found at: www.epa.gov/superfund/keddy

The Windham Public Library, located at 217 Windham Center Road, Windham (207-892-1908) can be used as a point of access to reach the online Administrative Record for the site. If you would like a copy of the cleanup plan mailed to you, please contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, Charlotte Gray, at gray.charlotte@epa.gov or 617-918-1243. toll-free 1-888-372-7341 ext. 8-1243. <

Award recognizes King for his leadership on behalf of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King of Maine was honored by the Navy League Capital Council as the 2023 recipient of its Congressional Sea Services Award in an event held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Senator Angus King of Maine has been presented with
the Congressional Sea Services Award by the Navy League
Capital Council to recognize his outstanding leadership and
contributions to the United States Sea Services.
This award, presented annually to a member of Congress, recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions to the United States Sea Services. Senator King accepted it on behalf of the men and women of the sea services and shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Senator King was presented with a binnacle, a casing that holds a ship’s compass and lamp, which will reside in his Senate office for a year. The traveling ‘trophy’ is the actual binnacle from the Sioux Falls Victory ship that saw action, and received a battlestar, in the amphibious assault of Okinawa, Japan in 1945. The ship also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

“We all talk about ships, and we talk about aircraft, but it’s the people – the wonderful people that we have serving us,” said Senator King. “The military and our first responders, when you think about it, have the only jobs where you sign your name and you’re putting your life on the line. That’s not true for 95-percent of the jobs in our society. These are the young people who put their lives on the line when they sign up and it’s something that we have to constantly remember.”

“This is a tremendous honor, and I really am overwhelmed and delighted, but I have accepted it on behalf of the shipbuilders in Maine, the shipbuilders in Mississippi, the Coasties along the Maine coast, and the Naval personnel all over the country. This isn’t my award this is their award. Thank you,” said King.

The award citation reads as follows: “Senator King has been a long-standing and outspoken advocate for our nation’s safety and security. He has tirelessly fought for a strong national defense, with particular emphasis on maritime forces and seapower, championing funding and innovative policies to increase United States shipbuilding capacity and support for our nation’s critical workforce.”

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Senator King has been a steadfast supporter of the Navy and Coast Guard. He recently secured key provisions in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to support the maritime forces and ensure that America’s military can continue providing best in class services to protect the “‘territory of the brave.” <

Citizen’s Guide to state referendum questions available online

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is reminding all Maine voters of a non-partisan resource that can help them make informed decisions at the polls on Nov. 7: the 2023 Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election.

The guide, prepared by the Department of the Secretary of State in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General and Office of Fiscal and Program Review, is an unbiased and non-partisan review of the issues that voters will consider at the polls this November. It is available on the Secretary of State’s website at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/index.html. Copies of the guide are also printed and distributed to municipal offices and public libraries throughout the state.

“Maine voters are being asked to weigh in on a number of consequential questions this November,” said Secretary Bellows. “This guide will help voters make their own decisions about how to vote with full, fair information about each ballot question. We encourage everyone to act now to learn about the upcoming referendum election and get ready to vote!”

The Citizens Guide provides detailed information about each question on the November ballot. Voters can see the legislation behind this year’s ballot issues, as well as analysis of the intent and content of each question. Election law also allows for citizen advocacy statements to be published supporting or opposing questions, which provides voters with those viewpoints to consider.

Voters will decide on four citizens’ initiatives and four constitutional amendments that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot:

QUESTION 1: Do you want to bar some quasi-governmental entities and all consumer-owned electric utilities from taking on more than $1 billion in debt unless they get statewide voter approval?

QUESTION 2: Do you want to ban foreign governments and entities that they own, control, or influence from making campaign contributions or financing communications for or against candidates or ballot questions?

Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?

Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?

QUESTION 5: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the time period for judicial review of the validity of written petitions from within 100 days from the date of filing to within 100 business days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State, with an exception for petitions filed within 30 calendar days before or after a general election?

QUESTION 6: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State?

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision requiring a circulator of a citizen's initiative or people's veto petition to be a resident of Maine and a registered voter in Maine, requirements that have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court?

QUESTION 8: Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision prohibiting a person under guardianship for reasons of mental illness from voting for Governor, Senators and Representatives, which the United States District Court for the District of Maine found violates the United States Constitution and federal law?

Voters are encouraged to use the Citizens’ Guide to educate themselves about each question before casting a ballot. Voters can cast their ballot at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023 or they can request absentee ballots from their municipal clerk or online via the Secretary of State’s website at www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl. <

October 13, 2023

Windham Town Council candidate profiles

Complied by Ed Pierce

Managing Editor

Windham Town Council duties

Candidates for seats on the Windham Town Council are,
from left, Zack Eklund (Write-In At-Large), Brett Jones
(East District), and Mark Morrison (At-Large).
Members of the Windham Town Council serve as the municipal officers of the town.

Duties of a town councilor include appointing and removing the town manager; appointing and removing the town attorney and assessor; appointing members of the planning board, board of appeals, board of assessment review, and other committees as the town council may establish. Council members create and abolish offices, agencies, and departments except those established by the Town Charter; may assign additional duties to offices, departments or agencies established by the charter but may not discontinue or assign those duties to any other office, department or agency; conduct investigations into the affairs of the town; adopt, modify and carry out plans proposed by the planning board although it does not apply to subdivisions, or site plans; approves the annual budget for recommendation to and approval by voters at the town meeting.

Councilors also provide information pertinent to an annual town audit; exercises all other legislative, financial, borrowing, and other powers; approve the salaries of town council appointees; attend scheduled council meetings and special meetings and provide input on agenda items. They determine rules of procedure and keep a record of its proceedings; confirm appointments of statutory officers and department heads including but not limited to police chief, fire/rescue chief, and the town public works director by the town manager; review the annual budget prepared by the town manager and approve it with or without amendment. They oversee appropriations for each town department; call for special town meetings; and may authorize interim expenditures and make supplemental and emergency appropriations subject to budgetary limitations and certified availability of revenue.

There are two seats on the council on the ballot this year for three-year terms, including an at-large position and one representing the town’s Eastern district.


Zac Eklund

Write-In candidate

Windham Town Council

At Large, Three-year term

Medical Device Sales

I earned a Bachelors’ degree in Business Management from Purdue University.

As an undergrad at Purdue University, I served on the Undergraduate Student Government for two years where I focused on improving student life and community involvement. I have lived in Windham for 12 years. My wife, Emily and I have three kids (Aubrey 10 years old, Foster 2 years old and Harper 9 months old). I spend all my free time with my family, planning adventures like camping throughout Maine and New Hampshire. They inspire my passion and dedication to be an advocate for our children and our community.

Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Windham Town Council this year?

“While spending more than 30 hours collecting signatures for the Recall Ordinance, I spoke with hundreds of Windham residents, and it is evident that many are dissatisfied with our public officials and the direction Windham is headed. This gave me a new perspective on the change needed in our community, so I started attending Town Council meetings. I quickly realized there is a major disconnect between our town council and the residents of Windham and I saw an opportunity where the passion I feel for my community could make a difference. I am on the ballot as a Write-In Candidate, as it wasn’t until after the deadline to register that I realized the pressing need in Windham for balance and new leadership of the Town Council.”

What attributes and behaviors are essential for town councilors in Windham?

“Windham Town Council should be “of the people by the people and for the people,” and I will serve with integrity according to the town Code of Ethics. I want to hear from the constituents in Windham I will be serving, and I believe in full transparency. Public input should be valued, not limited by a timer. Councilors are elected to govern Windham, but they should have an inclusive mindset, as ideas and considerations can also come from our people who have a wealth of relevant knowledge, experience, and investment. I have passion for the Community of Windham and am dedicated to helping shape it to continue to be a welcoming town to raise our children in. To achieve this, I will be open-minded to keep a productive exchange as Council works and will be committed to attending all meetings possible to fulfill this duty.”

What do you feel is the most significant issue facing the town over the next three years and how do you feel you can help address this issue adequately for town residents?

“Growth is inevitable and necessary, and it should reflect the goals of the town, be well-planned and paced. The council must ensure our schools, public safety, roads, and infrastructure can support the growth. We need to pause and evaluate the outcomes of progress to date in Windham and proactively plan its growth rather than be reactive. Property tax increases need to be slowed through Council action by focusing on commercial growth through easing the restrictions we currently have in place on commercial activity. We want diverse businesses to be welcomed in Windham with the opportunity to grow. Commercial growth would not have a fraction of the impact on traffic, the environment, and town services and would bring in tax revenue. Apartment buildings do not bring in the tax revenue needed to cover the demand for resources and if they are added revenue must be sought elsewhere.”

Can you describe what you like the most about living in Windham?

“Windham has always been a friendly community. Its location close to Portland and great local business options blended with its rich history and rural charm is a special combination and should be preserved. I would support adding year-round family and neighbor focused events. Windham has many young families, and it is evident reading on the community board that we could benefit from more opportunities to gather. The Parks and Rec Department does a phenomenal job, and I would support allocating resources to increase activities to unite our community. I also support adding or improving parks. I grew up in a rapidly growing town in Indiana and was part of a family-focused development team which built of one of the most highly rated parks in the United States.”

Could you support a council decision that you did not vote in favor of? Why or why not?

“Council votes are decided by the majority and every Councilor has their views based on their experience, knowledge, and perceptions. When public input has been genuinely considered and discussion has been exhausted, the majority vote stands. In some situations, Councilors may act within rules to revisit items, but the intent is that the decisions made by Council are the law of Windham. I will always be passionate for what I believe in, and enjoy discussion until every aspect is considered, but when it comes down to it, if a Councilor is not in the majority vote, they must be open-minded, and support the decision and consider how it works in practice.”

How do Windham Town Councilors balance the need to provide quality services to residents with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?

“This can be accomplished by focusing on strategic commercial growth of diverse businesses that will attract consumers, and by easing the restrictions we currently have in place on commercial activity. Commercial growth is the only way to grow and drive down local taxes. The direction Windham is currently taking by focusing on residential growth has not provided taxpayer relief. Residents can better accept tax burdens when they see the value of the quality services provided. Many Windham residents do not feel the value that is currently being offered based on the ongoing discussions surrounding property tax increases. Increased traffic problems resulting from rapid and concentrated development on Route 115 are an impact I have heard the most about, and the choice to build apartment buildings rather than single family homes. Town Council needs to be responsive to the constituents they serve, answer concerns regarding the decisions being made, and shape future goals to reflect the needs of the people of Windham.”

What’s the most important thing you hope to learn about the town if you are elected to the Windham Town Council?

“I recognize the service and hard work of every Town Councilor and I hope to learn from them and do diligent research to understand how Windham has progressed to where we are now to help decide how we will move forward. I want to learn what community members think about the direction Windham is going by getting the community more involved in town council and attending our meetings.”

Brett Jones


Windham Town Council

East District, Three-year term

Fire Captain, Old Orchard Beach Fire Department

Owner, Tavern Hill Farm

Associate Degree in Applied Science, Southern Maine Community College Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced level

Resident of Windham for the last 15 years. Married with two children (ages 4 and 10) Small local business owner Board of Directors, Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club

Why did you decide to become a candidate again for the Windham Town Council this year?

“To continue to build on the successful acquisition of the East Windham Conservation Project. To work on maintaining open space and to preserve Windham’s rural character while fostering sustainable responsible development.”

What attributes and behaviors are essential for town councilors in Windham?

“The last 30 years working in the Fire Service has taught me the importance of problem solving and managing conflict in high stress situations. Having an open mind and willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints is a critical skill for any councilor to have which I feel I have demonstrated consistently over the last four years.”

What do you feel is the most significant issue facing the town over the next three years and how do you feel you can help address this issue adequately for town residents?

“The appeal of living in Windham has caused a growth crisis. Although some things like the cost of homes are beyond our local control, we can manage growth. Determining where we focus that growth, what it looks like and how it impacts local services, are some reasons it is important that the council needs to update and revise our town zoning, which will continue to shape the town as determined in the comprehensive plan.”

Can you describe what you like the most about living in Windham?

“My wife and I moved to Windham 15 years ago, it had been our dream to own and operate a small family farm. Windham provided us that opportunity and more. We also love outdoor recreation such as hunting/fishing, snowmobiling/ATVs and hiking. Windham’s forests, fields, and waterways have provided us that opportunity, which is why I feel it is essential we preserve that way of life.”

Could you support a council decision that you did not vote in favor of? Why or why not?

“I can and have supported council decisions that I may not have been initially in favor of. The first thing I learned when I because a town councilor is to compromise. Sometimes you have to be willing to bend your ideas for the greater good of the town.”

How do Windham Town Councilors balance the need to provide quality services to residents with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?

“The use of creative revenue strategies such as TIF districts, impact fees, and State and Federal grants have helped shift some of the tax burden off the individual taxpayer. We have used this tactic successfully for the past few years, maintaining and adding to our high quality of local services but also continuing to keep our Mil rate one of the lowest in the Greater Portland area. One example would be the East Windham Conservation Project. The town was able to purchase over 700 acres of beautiful forest for open space/outdoor recreation using grants and impact fees with no effect on the Mil rate.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the town since you were first elected to the Windham Town Council?

“Since joining the council I have learned that our town is full of motivated and passionate people with many different ideas on how to continue to move our town forward. It’s been a humbling experience to work with them in shaping our community’s future.”

Mark Morrison


Windham Town Council

At-Large, Three-year term

Financial Advisor and Retirement Planner.

B.S. Economics, International Trade, University of Southern Maine

Married to Candace for 34 years, and we are both from the Bangor area - Windham residenta since 1990, and I am 7th generation Maine. Our two children (Kristen & Greg) attended Windham Schools K-12, and both graduated from the University of Maine School of Business. I have been a community volunteer with leadership positions for many years; Sebago Lake Rotary Club, member 8 years, Paul Harris Fellowship awarded June 2023, (Rotary’s highest award), President, 2021, Rotarian of the Year, 2017. Member of the Sebago Lake Chamber of Commerce 8 years. Volunteer instructor on personal finace with Windham Adult Ed for 7 years. Windham Economic Development Corporation, board of directors - 3 years; Youth Soccer Coach 8 years and member of Windham Youth Soccer Board – 2 years. Sports booster and helped bring Ice Hockey to Windham along with leading fundraising to support the team. Volunteer with Windham Veterans and Trustee of their Charitable Trust.

Why did you decide to become a candidate again for the Windham Town Council this year?

"I served as a member of the board of directors for the Windham Economic Development Corporation and was involved with researching and moving both the sewer and traffic flow improvement projects forward 6 years ago. I played a part in the analysis, and now I am very excited to be part of implementing both initiatives. These two plans have been considered for over four decades and are now finally approved. Ground has been broken and the projects started. Both projects funded predominantly from State and Federal sources and not by the local taxpayer (Maine DOT for access roads). So with the use of TIFs, the local Windham residents and business owners will be minimally impacted. Finally, we are investing in Windham’s future with proactive planning. I am committed to local business. It is important that we have the infrastructure in place to support business growth and attract businesses who have a strong need for a skilled workforce. We need policies structured which are business friendly. This coupled with being good stewards of our natural resources, environment and town budget. The more we support our businesses, the more they off set the residential tax burden. I am equally committed to the local residents. The children, families and seniors who live here. We must do all we can to ensure our roads are safe, and the services we need are available and working well. We must do all we can to keep the “local small community feel” strong as we grow. Windham residents love living here because of the sense of community. We must do all we can to maintain that “rural charm” as we grow. Neighbors helping neighbors. This is who we are, and this is what we must cherish so it is preserved generationally. We can choose to be reactive or proactive when it comes to growth. Our current growth strategy is working, with growth focused in our growth zones (North Windham) and limits in our rural areas to preserve our open spaces. While we must maintain focus on proactively managing our future, we must also make sure we are addressing the needs of the Town and its daily operations in a fiscally responsible way. Police, Fire, Rescue, Public Works and operational staff must be in place to serve the needs of our community - from the young, to the working to the retired senior. Sometimes our needs are in conflict, but most often they can be structured so they are complementary and effective so our Town may function smoothly. Our Town staff and leadership team is committed to “doing a job well done” and this happens when people feel valued and respected, and here we are doing well. I am proud to play a small part in this."

What attributes and behaviors are essential for town councilors in Windham?

"It is important to be respectful and maintain a civil decorum when dealing with fellow Councilors, Town Staff and the Public. Windham is a top 25 Town in the State of Maine with respect to population and we are a desired destination to both visit and live. We have a large budget that must be managed and we are a Town that is growing. We must have the right people in place who can work together to problem solve - serving the best interests of the Town. Putting personal feelings and biases aside is critical and we must elect public officials who demonstrate that they have the commitment, proper demeanor and reputation for doing so. Local governance requires finding consensus and working within committees and boards so representative government can work for all. This takes a person who is dedicated to conducting business and themselves in a respectful and professional manner. This person must have high integrity and should have a track record and built a reputation for dealing with people fairly and ethically. I am proud to say, I have built such a reputation and have demonstrated this while serving on the Council for the past three years. Maintaining a high degree of integrity and ethics is key, and must be done so in a transparent fashion. It all starts with listening and respecting other viewpoints. If one is committed to truly listening, then the rest falls into place."

"2023 has had its challenges, and key to productive civil discourse is committing to respect and calm. I ask the people voting, to take a good look at the candidate and how the person conducts themselves. I have a track record and reputation for how I conduct business - and it is always professional. Please ask, before you vote, has the candidate I am considering demonstrated the values I desire? Has the candidate…Falsely accused Town officials at public meetings, questioned their ethics without proof? Built a reputation for making loud outbursts at meetings when others are speaking? Shouted and interrupted so much that meetings had to go into recess until that person gained composure before the meeting could resume? Used marketing materials (yard signs) which call out and question his opponent by name - a practice in poor taste (but legal), and never seen by our Town clerk in charge of elections in her 30 years. I question the judgement here. Sadly, I must make this point, but it is important for our electorate to be informed. I must protect my good name and the good names of my fellow councilors. All of our meetings are open to the public but lightly attended, so not everyone in town sees how our business is conducted and how our citizens and councilors conduct themselves and interact. My opponent has acted with poor behavior repeatedly, while town meetings are taking place, and witnessed by many (look up our meetings in August as they are recorded). I can proudly say, I have never acted so egregiously in any public forum at any time. Those of us in leadership positions must lead by example and demonstrate the characteristics of good decorum. Those that cannot conduct themselves with good behavior must be educated and ultimately held to account. It really is all about having good “people skills" so we can conduct the business of the Town for the people."

What do you feel is the most significant issue facing the town over the next three years and how do you feel you can help address this issue adequately for town residents?

"Our sustainable growth strategy is working, so here I feel we are in good position. We have two very large projects now in implementation. This means we will have construction going on in the North Windham area in support of our new sewer system and the traffic flow improvement project with Maine DOT. The work being done is taking place in our busiest part of town and that is going to create stress and frustration. The mid- to longterm gains are significant and long overdue. We will experience some pain and inconvenience with traffic and construction due to the work being done in the short run. We can’t lose sight that this effort is going to significantly improve our town. So we must keep the big picture in mind, and know that our new sewer system is going to help our business community, dramatically improve our environment and add playing fields for our children. Another key issue is affordable housing. We are making this a priority, and are now actively looking for opportunities to work with Maine Housing to address. I am committed to this proactive planning."

Can you describe what you like the most about living in Windham?

"I enjoy the community feel. I grew up in a small town outside of Bangor (Orrington) and community is everything. Windham has that, and it is more than our charm, it really is our identity. We can go to a restaurant, or store or sporting event and see neighbors and catch up. We can have genuine conversations - not superficial. We help those who are in need, we share our experiences and life’s triumphs and we truly care about our fellow Windham neighbors. We have very good schools for our children. We have the convenience of shopping for almost all of our needs locally, we are just 5 minutes to the lake or a hike in the woods and can take a drive across town and see farms and large rural spaces - a nice balance we need to retain as part of our community as I believe this is what ties us together."

Could you support a council decision that you did not vote in favor of? Why or why not?

"Yes. I did this with the recall ordinance being voted on in November. I agreed with the ordinance in principle and believe this should be part of our charter. However, I did not like how the ordinance was written. I believe it is too loose, too subjective and there needs to be more accountability for the “accuser” and ample defense for the “accused”. The current draft allows an election where thousands who voted, could have their vote reversed by a small minority. That is a problem. That is why I did not support the ordinance, but I voted to pass it through to the ballot for the whole Town to decide. So yes, I voted for the recall ordinance but I did not like how it was written. So I put personal opinion aside and voted to move it forward to the ballot - full transparency."

How do Windham Town Councilors balance the need to provide quality services to residents with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?

"This can be very challenging, especially with a large budget like Windham. Most importantly, one must exercise good judgment and approach the situation calmly and without bias. An open mind is needed so all possibilities can be considered before a solution is found. I have a 30-year track record professionally of doing just this with financial analysis. Following a "Six Sigma approach as a disciple for analyis also helps with problem solving so the best possible outcome is found in the most economical manner. Often it is a question of where are we with our current budget? What are the possible external factors like economy, inflation, labor pool, interest rates matched against our current tax payer burden the long term with minimal tax payer impact. When we compare our mill rate to our surrounding town neighbors, we are in good shape comparitvely. Our budget is solid, our debt is extremely low and our credit rating is excellent (S&P, AA+). All due to good stewardship and finding that balance between needed services and taxes."

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the town since you were first elected to the Windham Town Council?

"Hands down, the people - Town Staff, Leadership and Residents. How critical it is to have the right people in place working together. Municipal governance is heavily involved with managing by committee and citizen input, so having the right people in place with the right skill set is critical. Stakeholders at all levels must have very good people and communication skills, as seeking consensus is how government works. I am proud to say, that the Town employees truly care and are committed to serving our Town well. They take their roles seriously, and everyone truly wants to make a difference. I have enjoyed working with everyone, as we are all working on the same team. It has been a real pleasure working with all the people of this Town - staff employees, leadership and fellow citizens. Fellow Councilors - I respect and value each of you and look forward to working together for another term."

RSU 14 Board of Directors candidate profiles

Complied by Ed Pierce
Managing Editor

RSU 14 Board of Directors candidates are, from left to right,
Marge Govoni, Joe Kellner, Justin Whynot and Dawn Miller.
RSU 14 Board of Director duties

Two vacancies for three-year terms representing Windham on the RSU 14 Board of Directors will be filled during the Nov. 7 election.

The RSU 14 Board of Directors concerns itself primarily with broad questions of policy rather than with administrative details. The application of policies is an administrative task to be performed by the Superintendent of Schools and his/her staff, who shall be held responsible for the effective administration and supervision of the entire school system.

Members of the RSU 14 board have authority only when acting as a board legally in session. Board members are involved in policy making; choosing the superintendent; planning, set goals, and appraising results; approving and adopting financial resources; negotiating and approving collective bargaining agreements.

Board members also set clear expectations/standards and adopt policies regarding instructional programs; determine school building needs; communicate with various constituencies; advocate for the needs of the students; establish procedures for the operation of the board; review and evaluate board operations and performance; choose board officers; approve the annual school calendar; establish and maintain effective board-superintendent relations; and work with along with authorizing school administration to work with town, county, and other government and non-government officials and agencies.


Marjorie (Marge) Govoni

RSU 14 Board of Directors candidate

Three-year term

Retired as a Manager from a global business, Textron Inc.

Some college, no degree. Has lived in Windham for the past 23 years.

Mother of four, Grandmother of 19 and Great-Grandmother of 9, lots of experience with children.

Why are you running for the RSU 14 Board of Directors? If elected, what will be your priorities?

“I am running so I can continue to serve the students and ensure they receive an education that will help secure their future after graduation. My priorities are to make sure that policies and funding allow the district to do just that. There are many federal and state guidelines, laws and rules that schools must abide by, and the main role of a school board is to ensure that these are in place and followed. The school board has one employee and that is the Superintendent and with a reciprocal approach we can help make school successful for students. I care very deeply for our students, and I would love to continue serving them in this capacity.”

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

“I have served on this board since 2008 with two short breaks and in all that time I have always had the best interest of ALL the students in mind when making my decisions. I am presently on the Finance, Facilities, New Middle School and PATHS/WRVC Advisory committees. I have and will continue to frequently visit all the schools in the district to meet staff and see what is happening in the schools. In my past work experience I was responsible for budgets and dealing with multiple people at all levels. I am aware of the impact that budgets have on the community, and I always take that into consideration when working on the school budget.”

What attributes and behaviors are essential for RSU 14 Board of Directors members?

“You need to be respectful and thoughtful of others’ opinions whether you agree or not. I have told many parents that they have to advocate for their children, and I firmly believe that, but as a school board member you are responsible to advocate for over 3,000 students in this district. You need to be impartial and put things in place for parents, guardians etc. to have options if they don’t agree with your decisions and I feel this district does that. If you have an agenda, you need to be able to leave it at the door and make sure your decisions are in the best interest of all the students. That is not an easy task! You also need to make sure that you know the laws and policies that govern schools and to keep them in mind when making decisions. Transparency is important! Do your homework and find out the responsibilities that come with this job, because it is a job and over 3,000 students and approx.700 staff are relying on you. Be a good listener, communicator and observer and always respect each other on the board and the public as a whole.”

What can be done to improve student achievement in RSU 14 and ensure everyone who graduates is college or career ready?

“We need to continue with the work that is already going on in the district. During Covid there were many students who lost ground through no fault of their own and the schools are trying to offer additional help to these students. We need to stay on top of what is going on in the world and make sure that we offer students programs that will allow them to succeed in an ever-changing world. Technology is ever evolving, and the schools are aware of this, and so as the world changes so must the schools. We are in partnership with 2 Vocational schools so that students who prefer to work with their hands have that choice, and presently those schools are looking into giving students credit for some of their academic classes, such as math. This would open up the opportunity for more students to attend the Vocational Schools. We need to also continue to expand the scope of the courses we offer.”

What is the best way to address differences of opinion on the board or between the board and the administration?

“The Board needs to be diverse in our thinking but in the end, we need to agree to disagree. That sounds silly but we are all different and the expectation should not be that we would all agree on everything, but we do need to respect each other's opinions and listen to each other. Differences should be talked out and there is usually some give and take but it’s the final decision that counts.”

What is your vision for public education in this community?

“When you serve on the board, I believe you were put there to serve the students and to make sure they receive a proper education. Some people may think that reading, writing and arithmetic as taught in the old days is the right way to go and I disagree. You need to make sure that you look at the whole child which includes the academics, sports, the arts etc. This is not a one shoe fits all society and we need to be flexible in our thinking if we want our students to survive and be ready for life after High School.”

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing the RSU 14 school district?

“The appearance of them and us! There is no them and us because we are all here for the same thing and that is to make sure that every student gets the best education that fits their needs. The safety of our students and staff is an issue. We have excellent staff in this district, and I feel that the dissention that is going on is having a detrimental effect on their well-being and ability to teach and students are feeling it also.”

Joe Kellner

RSU 14 Board of Directors candidate

Three-year term

Chief Executive Officer, LifeFlight of Maine

Bachelor of Arts, German, UMaine Orono; Master of Business Administration, management concentration, Maine Business School, UMaine Orono

Certificate in Advanced Emergency Care, Kennebec Valley Community College

Maine Licensed Paramedic

Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives

Moved to Maine in 2003 to attend college at UMaine. Moved from Bangor to Windham in 2017, where I reside with my wife, Caitlin, and two boys: Leland (6) and Elliott (4). Leland is a student at WPS and Elliott will attend next year. I have substantial leadership experience in healthcare, including management and finance. I recently left my role at Northern Light Health as VP of Finance for Northern Light Home Care and Hospice, to become CEO of LifeFlight. I have been involved with the LifeFlight organization since 2009 in various capacities. I have served on several boards, including the seven years in a gubernatorially appointed position on the Maine EMS board during both the LePage and Mills administrations. During this time, I served as the chair of the board, and served on multiple committees. I was chair at the start of the COVID pandemic. I have also served on the board of the Aroostook Hospice Foundation and Maine Ambulance Association.

I was just named as one of Maine’s 40 under 40 by MaineBiz Magazine.

While time with my family is my first priority, I also enjoy cycling and hiking, as well as travel. I am also a certificated private pilot.

Why are you running for the RSU 14 Board of Directors? If elected, what will be your priorities?

“I believe seeking consensus and common ground are important priorities for any candidate. I have a proven track record of doing just that. I feel I can help bring our community back together, and make sure we are working on all of the areas for which the board has oversight, and in proper balance. I do not have any affiliations with activist organizations, and I believe the best policies are developed locally without outside influence. Finally, I will have children in the school system for the next 14 years, and I want to do my part to ensure all students, including my own, have a positive experience.”

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

“I have extensive leadership and board experience with a proven track record of finding common ground among strong differing viewpoints. I have shown a commitment to listening to all sides of various issues, with openness to having my mind changed when appropriate. Calmness, kindness, and respect are traits I try to display.”

What attributes and behaviors are essential for RSU 14 Board of Directors members?

“School Board Directors must take time to fully understand issues, hear various viewpoints, and only after reviewing all available information, make informed decisions. Board members must be professional and kind in all interactions and should actively ensure transparency whenever possible. Board members should be apolitical in their position and should not be beholden to any particular group.”

What can be done to improve student achievement in RSU 14 and ensure everyone who graduates is college or career ready?

“Having significant experience in process improvement, I can attest that improvement comes through realistic and achievable goal setting along with regular measurement and accountability. Student achievement is so much more than test scores, however, and is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. Ensuring every student is respected and treated as an individual is key. Many students have individualized education plans (IEPs) and to effectively support those students, RSU 14 needs to be properly resourced. Continuing to properly fund the arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities helps expose students to vital skills in creativity and leadership, which in addition to strong academics, support readiness for the next chapter after public school.”

What is the best way to address differences of opinion on the board or between the board and the administration?

“Transparency creates trust. As a leader, I believe strongly in adopting that philosophy. The best way to resolve differences is through mindful, respectful, and frequent communication. Disagreement is a healthy part of making good policy. I embrace disagreement as an opportunity to learn from one another.”

What is your vision for public education in this community?

“My vision is for RSU 14 to be a centerpiece of the community that attracts families to live here and attracts and retains great educators and staff. RSU 14 can be a national model for achieving consensus and tackling difficult problems.”

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing the RSU 14 school district?

“The issues facing RSU 14 are not dissimilar to those that public schools face nationally. It’s important to realize that there are many areas that are important for the school board; not just the “hot-button” topics. Top issues for me are recruitment and retention of staff, proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars through responsible budgeting, ensuring a well-rounded and effective educational experience for all students, and making sure students within our schools are safe.”

Dawn Miller

RSU 14 Board of Directors candidate

Three-year term

Currently a Small Business Owner, I have also been a stay-at-home mom, a personal trainer at a private fitness studio and served High School and Middle School teams, and the foster coordinator for an animal rescue.

I graduated from UMaine with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (the study of the human body and movement) and have been a certified personal trainer since 2003.

Born and raised in northern Maine, after travelling I permanently settled in Windham with my husband and daughter (who attends WMS) in 2016. My upbringing was shaped by my family’s commitment to public education and serving the community with integrity. My mother has been on a School Board for 22 years and worked in another district at a K-8 school for 29 years. My Grandfather was the Old Town High School principal for 27 years and still serves as a mentor for teachers and administrators well into his retirement. He was also a Rotarian which he still is to this day. I am “Pro-Educator”, as I saw first-hand the dedication and sacrifice it takes to do that most important job.

Why are you running and if elected what will be your priorities?

"Like many parents and guardians, I have been involved in Windham schools as a volunteer; however, in the past year I have felt a strong calling back to my roots to become more invested in supporting the best parts of our education system and working cooperatively and ethically to find solutions to areas we can improve. I hope to bring to RSU 14 School Board a servant leadership mindset: The goal of a leader is to serve, encourage diversity of thought, be unselfish and to foster leadership in others. My priorities are generally excellence for students and staff, but they will be shaped as I learn more about RSU14 and the School Board from that perspective. Transparency with the community and parents is important to me, as are parents’ 14th amendment rights to be involved in shaping their child’s education."

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

"Being a business owner requires being a self-starter, dedication, patience, discipline, organization, appreciation, and punctuality. The success of my business depends on commitment to quality, the trust I build with customers and the relationships made along the way. When the work is the most challenging, I maintain a calm manner adapting as scenarios arise. It also requires being fiscally responsible and forecasting and following a budget to prepare for the future and ensure longevity and success. During many years as a personal trainer, I have collaborated with people from all different backgrounds which has taught me to be a good listener and take each individual’s unique set of circumstances and work with them to help them reach their goals."

What attributes & behaviors are essential for RSU 14 board members?

"It should be mandatory that Board members follow their Code of Ethics, and all board policies, which will ensure they are meeting the needs of the people who elected them. A school board member needs to be open minded and a good listener, which is one of my strengths. They need to come from a place of compromise, be respectful of other viewpoints and have a willingness to collaborate and consider new solutions to changing situations. The relationship between the School Board and the Superintendent can be best described as one of teamwork. The Board, administration, and teachers have a common basic responsibility for the welfare of the children in the schools, and we should enter service with the belief that everyone shares this fundamental goal and be willing to compromise."

What can be done to improve student achievement in RSU 14?

"One of the best ways to improve student achievement is to improve morale by creating a positive, cooperative environment where students are encouraged to reach their highest individual achievement and are recognized and rewarded based on merit. We can reach out to parents for input about their students’ education experience and ask teachers from their perspective where any disconnect is. We have some amazing educators in our district, and we need to support them and find out what they need to ensure all students in RSU 14 are thriving and ready for college, trades school, the workforce or whatever path they have chosen when they graduate. While curriculum comes from the MDOE, the Board interprets policy and works with administration to achieve best practices within RSU 14."

Best way to address differences of opinion?

"The School Board and administration must work together to solve problems and choose direction for the district. The Superintendent provides the Board with information to make decisions, but the Board can also do their own research and have an open dialogue, and respectfully find a way to come to a resolution. The issues facing districts are complex and the most important element is being receptive to new information, and being willing to compromise with the understanding that variables constantly change. The most successful Boards will be able to adapt, always keeping in mind that the goal is to meet the needs of students and to foster a united community."

What is your vision for public education in this community?

"My vision for public education in RSU 14 includes strong academic learning and development of critical thinking skills from unbiased instruction. Students are treated as unique individuals and are inspired to work toward personal goals and to outreach in their community. I believe RSU 14 is a place where staff and students alike thrive, and we can keep building on that. A result of public education should be that when students leave, they are a better version of themselves, and they have the knowledge and the skills to go out into the world and accomplish any goal they put their minds to. Public education must include cooperation between the Board, administration, and with the parents. Kids’ best learning results happen when they have support at home, and that should be encouraged. RSU 14 can improve transparency to the community and respect parents’ rights to be involved in their students’ education."

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing the RSU 14 school district?

"The largest roadblock currently seems to be the divide in the community regarding parents’ rights. Part of the community is questioning library content students are provided without parental consent or knowledge while others want their parental rights to allow their child access to all materials protected. While the issue is complicated considering law and policy, RSU 14 does have local authority to write and administer policy to achieve the best outcomes for our community. Parents must be heard in that decision-making process as their relationships with their children are unique and nobody knows these students better than their parents. Solutions should be created that support education, preserve all students’ safety, and respect the parental rights of all parents to be involved in their children’s education. RSU 14 will accomplish this with good faith cooperation, and I would appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Board to help move RSU 14 forward in the most positive way."

Justin Whynot

RSU 14 Board of Directors candidate

Three-Year term

I currently serve as a Co-Director of Parents’ Rights Maine and am the Vice Chair of the recently formed Maine Chapter of Moms for Liberty. I am also my younger child’s homeschool teacher. Prior to that I spent the last twenty years in the automotive industry as an auto body technician.

I’m a Windham High School alumni and have studied educational models for years. I have a penchant for research and have a strong basis of knowledge to both absorb new information and offer input. I have also become familiar with Board Policy, the MDOE, the DOE, along with Federal and State laws concerning education."

"I am the second generation of my family to attend Windham schools, preceded by my mother, who both attended and was a teacher in Windham, and my grandfather, who was also a teacher and coach in Windham schools. I spent my youth in the Boy Scouts of America where I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and was instilled with values such as service to others, the importance of community, the preciousness of freedom, the need for reverence, and the value of education. I have served as a Youth Group Leader, a Children’s Church Leader, a Camp Counselor, and a Coach. Today, with my roots firmly planted in Windham, I’m a husband, father, and grandfather of one, with another grandchild on the way.

Why are you running for the RSU 14 Board of Directors? If elected, what will be your priorities?

"As an RSU 14 School Board member, my goal is to work with other board members who feel as passionately about education as I do to create an educational environment where the board, administration, teachers, parents/guardians and community members come together to best support our students to find their individual paths to success. School should be a place where students receive true unbiased instruction, and where one’s background including sex, race or creed puts students neither above nor below any other individual. The Board must also exercise their local control to ensure that parents have the right to oversee and direct their child's education as it is enshrined in the 14th Amendment. A main priority is to work on a system to review library content to ensure the safety of all students and respect all parental rights. It is our role as Board members to interpret and administer State Education Law to best serve students in our community; my interpretation would maximize practical, knowledge, and experience-based learning, and develop critical thinking skills to best prepare students to be productive citizens."

What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

"Through my decades in Windham I have worked in the community and been enriched from the many relationships I’ve built. In raising a family with my wife, I have learned how to be resourceful, fair, patient and cooperative. Currently, I serve on two boards where I work collaboratively with a diverse group of individuals to set and meet ongoing goals to choose the best course of action. Recently, I helped plan and coordinate the Freedom Convoy to D.C. working with dozens of individuals throughout the state and the Northeast region of the U.S. This year, I co-authored an Ordinance for the Recall of Elected Officials, and collaborated with a large group of citizens to successfully get a referendum for it on the Windham municipal ballot. I am dedicated to help serve the community to make RSU 14 the best support it can be for all students and families throughout the district."

What attributes and behaviors are essential for RSU 14 Board of Directors members?

"A Board Member must take into account the needs of the educators, students and parents while providing them the resources and guidance to empower a safe and effective learning environment. It is essential for RSU14 Board of Directors members to have integrity and character and conduct themselves in a highly ethical manner. They should strive to be a shining example and set a positive tone in the community and must show respect to fellow board members and administration and be open to new ideas and information. They must be respectful to community members to openly receive and genuinely consider public input as the Board makes decisions for the district they were elected to represent. It is critical that community members are heard and are not time-limited in their contribution, as the best ideas result from free and open discourse. Board members do not serve any agenda beyond what is best for the people in the community they serve."

What can be done to improve student achievement in RSU 14 and ensure everyone who graduates is college or career ready?

"Students deserve the opportunity to work towards their life goals without the hindrance of bureaucrats pushing ideological curriculum. A student’s successes are profoundly impacted by the involvement of their parents in their education. Transparency and parental involvement are a must for pupil achievement. To achieve a student’s full potential in academic learning, it takes a full collaborative effort of students, parents and educators. This can be achieved through diligently working with, and providing the means, resources and opportunities for the parent/educator/student collaborative. Growing up in a family of educators, I witnessed first-hand the obstacles teachers face on a daily basis. I saw their compassion, their empathy, and their drive to meet every need of every student that walked into their classroom without hesitation. What I also saw was the frustrations and struggles educators faced. These obstacles that weighed down student achievement seemed to stem from school administrators and politicians imposing bad policies, ideological content and micromanagement that created non-conducive environments. RSU 14 offers excellent career path development; where we can improve is to embrace that the greatest achievement of an educator is teaching a student how to think, not what to think."

What is the best way to address differences of opinion on the board or between the board and the administration?

"We all need to come together with the underlying understanding that we all care about the students first. Differences of opinions are the basis for the best ideas and the foundation of all great achievements and endeavors throughout history. Open discussions and discourse are what moves all ideas into fruition. All members of the Board must represent and respect the input of educators, parents, students and fellow Board members to develop a learning environment that can meet the needs of every student. Inevitably Board members will disagree and at times a course of action chosen without unanimity. Board members must support the chosen course and if an issue is revisited, it must be raised through channels within the Board. Differences of opinion with administration will be handled with due respect, be fact and reason based, and the Board will decide together what course is taken."

What is your vision for public education in this community?

"The public school system should be an inspiring environment where students have autonomy, are respected for individuality, and freedom of speech, where ideological groupthink and cancel-culture is not supported. A strong student body community is fostered through individual empowerment and encouraged teamwork and service. Educators are appreciated and supported, and in turn provide a fair space for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Students are taught critical thinking skills, so no matter what they face in the future they can navigate it. We should revisit teaching fundamental academics that have been shed along the way. Especially in middle school, we need to stop socially labeling and dividing students in the name of equity, which leads to an increase in negativity and low morale. Focus on tolerance and compassion and rewarding positive behavior will go farther. Every student should be encouraged to achieve their best outcomes. Above all, their education should be free of biased teachings, ideological persuasion, and focus on sexualization."

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing the RSU 14 school district?

"After the election, the Board will primarily need to address the demoralizing, harmful library materials that are being provided without parental knowledge. Stonewalling parents concerned about the content available to young children in school and defending the current inadequate system has resulted in a damaging divide in the community. We need a solution that maintains intellectual freedom but affords every parent transparency and the ability to screen content for their children. I have begun developing a plan to help achieve this. Once elected to the School Board my goal is to work with my fellow Board members to enact a system that will protect children from exposure to inappropriate materials, and ensure all parental rights are maintained. “A Blockbuster Library” will allow students to browse the shelves, find selections and read the synopsis of the literary content." To see Justin’s plan, go to http://www.windhamraymondparentsforchoice.com

"Critical Race Theory (CRT) and/or Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is another major issue that needs to be addressed. These types of instruction methods wedge a divide between students and their peers, and within the community, cultivating racial and social divisions. Since SEL and CRT have been implemented into the education system, Maine’s test scores have plummeted and mental health issues have risen dramatically. In 2022, the Nation’s report card listed only 24 percent of Maine eighth graders to be at or above proficiency. The Mental Health America’s youth data for 2022 reported 15.6 percent of Maine youth (age 12-17) reported suffering from at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. Our schools should be free of ideology and a place where students have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential and learn how to think for themselves. Student surveys are another topic that needs to be addressed. While they offer a potential to provide important information on the needs of the students, they have become entrenched with topics that confuse, alienate and socially divide students. We need to work as a district to do everything we can to educate and empower our students and create an environment that is fostering a healthy safe environment of equality not equity. This way students are successfully prepared for their path that lays ahead."