WATERVILLE — Greg Bazakas is the new Ward 2 representative on the Waterville Board of Education after having been elected Monday by the board.

Bazakas, a clinical social worker-therapist with a private practice in Waterville, fills a vacancy created recently when Susan Reisert resigned her seat because she was moving to Belgrade.

Reisert served four years on the board. Her three-year term expires in 2021.

Bazakas was chosen 4-1 Monday over Jennifer Hickey, a licensed social worker and family services coordinator for Educare Central Maine, an early childhood education program.

Bazakas and Hickey were the only two candidates who submitted letters of interest for the position, and both were interviewed Monday by the board.

Bazakas taught social studies at Waterville Senior High School from 1998 to 2005, has two children in the school system and one who graduated last year, he said.

“Public schools make a real big difference in the lives of children, and it’s something that interests me and something I can make a contribution to,” Bazakas said.

Hickey said she has had a lot of experience working with pre-school children and their families, including those with high needs.

“Our schools are a sense of pride, and they define who we are as a community,” Hickey said.

Board member Maryanne Bernier asked the candidates what they think are the most important things children need to get a good education. Hickey said children need to be ready to learn, and educators must help students come to school and feel safe, nurtured and respected. Bazakas said the school system plays a big role in helping children to develop and preparing them for adulthood and life. They must be able to develop socially and academically, as well as in other ways.

“A whole person approach is very important,” he said.

Board members voted by paper ballot, and Schools Superintendent Eric Haley read the results, though he did not identify how each member voted. Board member Elizabeth Bickford arrived at the meeting after voting was conducted.

The board unanimously re-elected Sara Sylvester chairwoman, a position she has held since 2015. The board elects a chairman annually, and Sylvester has been a board member since 2004.

The board also re-elected Joan Phillips-Sandy executive secretary. She has served as executive secretary since 2015.

Besides Sylvester, Phillips-Sandy, Bernier, Bickford and Bazakas, board members present Monday were Julian Payne and Pamela Trinward.

The board got a first look at proposed school budgets for 2019-2020 as administrators, starting with George J. Mitchell School Principal Allan Martin, stood to present their cost centers. Haley and School Finance Director Paula Pooler said the presentations represented the first phase of building budgets, and the numbers would change over time.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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