FAIRFIELD — Residents showed up at the polls on Tuesday to elect six people to positions on the School Administrative District 49 school board and two to the town council.

Michael Taylor and Stephanie Thibodeau were elected to two seats on the city council. Shelley Rudnicki was unsuccessful in her bid for a seat. The vote was  Thibodeau, 429; Taylor, 359; Rudnicki, 230.

Michael Taylor Michael Taylor

Taylor, 52, is a materials manager for Houle’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. He is the former council chairman and ran again after losing last year’s election to Peter Lawrence and John Picchiotti.

“I think that to give back to your community you have to participate in local government, if you can,” Taylor said on Oct. 22. “I don’t have a set plan or agenda. I really just want to get things running smoothly.”

Thibodeau, 63, is a retired teacher who served on the town council three years ago.

Stephanie Thibodeau Stephanie Thibodeau

“I’m very pleased with the result. I was surprised I got so many votes from the people,” Thibodeau said. “I feel so humbled from everything. I hope and want the best for my town. It’s a step in the right direction. I look forward to the future for Fairfield and being a catalyst and bringing new life to the town. The best is yet to come.”

Rudnicki previously served on the SAD 49 school board but resigned alongside Caroline Toto-Lawrence and Tim Martin at a council meeting on July 10, citing harassment and an unfair balance of power in the community.

Rudnicki, Toto-Lawrence and Martin’s resignations came during a turbulent year in SAD 49 that saw resignations of seven teachers, the superintendent and Lawrence High School’s assistant and head principals.

The tenure of former Superintendent Reza Namin, whose resignation took effect on Aug. 2, was rife with controversy in great part due to his divisive restructuring plan that eventually cost the district $417,665 in administrative buyouts. Additionally, conflicts among school board members and two failed budget referendums have rattled the district.

Heather Hussey Heather Hussey

Heather Hussey and Judy Reeves were elected to the two school board seats with three-and-a-half year terms, beating out Steven Sandelier who also ran. The vote was Hussey, 365; Reeves, 333; and Sandelier, 266.

Hussey, 43, is a registered nurse who served on the Board of Selectmen in Jackman from 2010 to 2013.

“I am very excited about winning both school board seats I was running for,” Hussey said. “I am thankful to everyone who voted for me, I am looking forward to starting my new position at this week’s school board meeting.”

“I have a daughter who’s 7 in the district so I want to be more active in the decision-making for the district,” Hussey said on Oct. 29. “I want to make sure the board is held accountable for their decisions, because they’re the voice for the community. I hope to make sure we’re making good decisions while being responsible.”

Reeves, 54, is a retired geriatric nurse who was one of three people appointed in August to fill the vacancies left by Rudnicki, Toto-Lawrence and Martin.

“I’m very grateful to the community; I’m looking forward to continuing the good work we’ve been doing,” Reeves said.

Beth Lambert and Rae Davis-Folsom, who were also appointed to fill the board’s vacancies in August, were elected for the two seats with two-and-half-year terms. Zachary Golder and Jeffrey Neubauer also ran but were unsuccessful. The vote was Lambert, 383; Davis-Folsom, 209; Golder, 207; and Neubauer, 196.

Beth Lambert Beth Lambert

Lambert, 39, has been an educator for more than 17 years and has been the coordinator of secondary education and integrated instruction for the Maine Department of Education since 2017.

“It’s about supporting the students and teachers,” Lambert said on Oct. 29. “I’m running because the longer I live here the more clear it’s become how amazing and passionate the administration in the district is, and I want to do what I can to support them. I want to do what I can to ensure the students get the best education possible. I hope I can bring my 17 years of experience and provide a thorough search for a new superintendent and help to see through the construction of a new school.”

Rae Davis-Folsom Rae Davis-Folsom

Davis-Folsom, 56, has worked as a special education teacher at Waterville High School for the last 34 years and has served on multiple school committees during her tenure.

“I’m running because I believe the board policymakers should set appropriate goals and standards and deal with federal or state mandates without sacrificing the school and community values and objectives,” Davis-Folsom said on Oct. 29. “If elected, I plan to conscientiously work as a member of a cohesive unit to focus on the MSAD 49 district vision, to adopt a fiscally sound district budget, and to focus on the best educational practices for all students.”

Stewart Kinley ran unopposed for a seat on the school board for a term of a year-and-a-half.

Kinley, 80, served on the SAD 49 school board for 26 years and said he wanted to continue working with the district, especially since the approval of replacing Fairfield Primary School.

“I was part of the facilities committee in 2012 when we started to try and figure out what to do with elementary schools and we worked for seven years, and the superintendent announced at the last meeting that Fairfield Elementary is number one for replacement … by the state,” Kinley said on Oct. 22. “If I’m elected, I want to move the process of getting a new school built and seeing a qualified progressive superintendent.”

Reeves and Sandelier tied for second with 159 votes each for a seat on the school board for a term of 56 days. Hussey won that seat with 166 votes.

Albert E. Hodson III ran unopposed for the Kennebec Water District for a three-year term.

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