WATERVILLE — Joan Phillips-Sandy, a 22-year member of the Waterville Board of Education, is the board’s new chairperson, replacing Sara Sylvester who resigned the position because she moved out of her ward.

Waterville School Board Chairperson Joan Phillips-Sandy Morning Sentinel file photo

The board Monday night elected Phillips-Sandy, D-Ward 3, after Sylvester, D-Ward 1, a 15-year board member, resigned.

Sylvester had chaired the board for five years. Phillips-Sandy was executive secretary. Board member Pamela Trinward, D-Ward 7, was elected to the secretary position Monday.

Sylvester said Thursday in a phone interview that she enjoyed her time on the board.

“We’ve had some really tough times that I would never wish on anybody, but I have enjoyed being part of helping Waterville teachers and giving them the tools they need to help our children,” she said. “It was a good camaraderie, and I think we did good things for the schools.”

Sylvester said Phillips-Sandy will be a good chairperson.


“Certainly, she has longevity,” she said. “She is very knowledgeable. I’m leaving it in good hands. Joan is very capable and very passionate about our children and the school system. They’ll do fine with Joan.”

Phillips-Sandy said she looks forward to serving in her new role.

Sara Sylvester

“I’m absolutely looking forward to it,” she said. “I think Sara was a  wonderful chairperson, as was Lee Cabana before her, and I hope to follow in their footsteps. I will very much miss Sara. She was an excellent leader and a real voice of wisdom on the board, and she will be missed.”

With Sylvester’s Ward 1 seat vacant, the board is seeking candidates. The board will appoint a person on Jan. 13, at its first meeting in the new year.

Sylvester’s term was to expire in 2021. Phillips-Sandy said the position has been advertised in the newspaper. Those interested are asked to send letters  to the superintendent’s office by Monday.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said Thursday that the person appointed to Ward 1 in January will serve until the next regularly scheduled election in November 2020. The person elected to the seat then will serve the remainder of the term, which is one year.

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