Three incumbents and two newcomers are vying Tuesday for four seats representing Skowhegan on the Maine School Administrative District 54 board of directors.

The Skowhegan-based school district, which also includes Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock and Smithfield, faces several challenges in the coming year under the direction of new Superintendent Jon Moody, new Assistant Superintendent Mark Hatch and the 23-member board.

Among those challenges are the possible return of students to reopened schools, a final resolution of the nickname/mascot issue and the development and construction of a new school.

Derek Chretien

Derek Chretien

If elected, this would be Chretien’s first time on the board. He was previously elected the first lieutenant/secretary of the Somerset Regional Dive-Rescue Association. and said he was inspired to run for a seat on the MSAD 54 board after attending previous meetings and because he has two daughters in the district.

“I want to bring a voice back to the people of our district,” said Chretien, 49. “As a parent of two daughters, I will put education first. As a taxpayer, I will work to make sure we provide top-quality education, without causing a financial burden to our district taxpayers.”

Chretien says he is running for a seat on the board because quality education is important to him.

“For more than a year, our school board has worked on special-interest requests,” Chretien said. “I will work to get back to business, and work on ways to lower our dropout rates and to offer programs that keep our students wanting to learn.”

Chretien said residents should vote for him because he is “invested in our community and I am a man of my word.”

“I will commit to putting education and the well-being of all students first,” he said. “I will continue to have open conversations with the people of our district and address their concerns.

“It’s time we put the past behind us and move forward, bringing a new era to our future generations. It’s time the community starts to heal and the divided reunite for one purpose: The education of our children.”

Jeannie Conley

Conley, 58, is seeking her fourth term on the board. She has worked with children all of her adult life, she said.

“I was employed by Head Start for 25 of those years — the whole family, health, nutrition and education are just a few of the components offered through the program,” Conley said. “I feel that I have the knowledge and tools to be a productive school board member.”

Conley said she has been a part of several issues that are not finished, and hopes to see them come to completion. She said the beginning of the upcoming school year is her biggest concern. Her focus is on safe ways for students, teachers, administrators and support staff to return to school facilities.

“This will be a huge job and we will need everyone’s input and help,” Conley said. “Our district did a great job following the guidelines during the shutdown.

“I feel passionate at this time about the mental health of our children and families. So many have been away from the support system they received at school. I know they had contact while staying at home. This just isn’t the same as daily contact with teachers and peers”

Conley said people should vote for her because she is focused on what is best for the children and teachers in the district.

“I began this job six years ago and I feel I’m not finished. I am on the Personnel Committee, Program and Policy Committee and Building Committee,” she said.

“We are going to have a new elementary school in Skowhegan. The planning has begun and it is a long process. I want to be on this committee until it is complete and smiling young faces are wandering the halls of the school.”

Annmarie Dubois

Dubois, 54, is seeking her her first term on the MSAD 54 board. She said she has more than 12 years’ experience as an Early Head Start teacher and Family Service Provider, most recently at Kennebec Behavioral Health as a licensed clinical social worker.

Annmarie Dubois

“I hope to bring a voice of fairness, unity and encouragement to all work together for the benefit of the children and the community.” she said, adding mental health in schools is a priority.

“I hope to play a role in expanding the knowledge of the importance for children to have access to services for improved mental health and increased services to reduce disparity and obstacles, as well as support to staff to provide services to their students.”

A alumna of Skowhegan schools, Dubois said she her children, grandchildren and foster children going through schools and she hopes people vote for her because of what she can bring to the board and local schools.

“Many roles I have worked in throughout my career have been related to education, mental health and child welfare,” Dubois said. “My position as a social worker gives me insight to social issues, and the importance of the community working together to solve social problems through education and utilization of resources.”

Derek Ellis

Ellis, a current member of the board, did not respond.

Margaret “Peggy” Lovejoy

Margaret ‘Peggy’ Lovejoy

Lovejoy, 73, is running for her third term on the MSAD 54 board. She has been the vice chair of the Personnel Committee for the last several years.

Lovejoy began teaching in 1970 in the Philadelphia public schools. She then moved to Maine, where she has worked in MSAD 59 and MSAD 54 for 28 years.

Following her retirement, she worked as a tutor and then was elected to the school board.

 

“I have always taken leadership positions in the many organizations that I belong to,” Lovejoy said. “I have insights into the educational process, which I believe are important. I appreciate being part of the program, policy and administrative personnel decisions that mold and effect the education of my community’s children.”

Lovejoy said she is running for the MSAD 54 board because it is important to her and she is passionate about meeting the needs of the district’s children.

“Regardless of race, gender, economic status, academic, physical or emotional needs,” Lovejoy said, “we cannot dismiss the needs of any of our children based on what is more comfortable with the majority. This is especially true in this pandemic crisis.”

Lovejoy said people should vote for her because she is “passionate, compassionate, open-minded and honest,” and because she stands up for her beliefs.

“I will always advocate for what is in the children’s best interests,” she said. “As a board member, I believe that I have a fiscal responsibility to the community while trying to achieve my ideals for the children.

“I believe strongly in supporting programs that support children. Our food program has been essential during the pandemic. I believe strongly in our work on poverty and trauma. I am so proud of our efforts.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.