GARDINER — Maine School Administrative District 11 is looking for another school board member.

Jon Umland resigned from his seat on the board, effective Dec. 22, after selling his home and moving out of Gardiner, where he was elected to serve.

Umland wrote his resignation in an email directed to the school board and Superintendent Pat Hopkins, calling his time as an elected member on the board a “pleasure and an honor.”

Per school board rules, members must reside in the town, or city in which they were elected to serve. While Umland is moving to West Gardiner, which is still part of MSAD 11, that town is already represented by Matthew Lillibridge and Patrick Saucier.

Umland has supported in-person learning for students through the coronavirus pandemic, something he stressed in his resignation letter.

“This weekend, I personally know of multiple students that have asked their parents if they could seek counseling,” he wrote in his letter. “These students and parents are the lucky ones that have those open lines of communication, that feel comfortable asking and more importantly know that there is someone there for them to find the help they are asking for.”

During the last school board meeting that he attended, Umland had voted against a motion to have the week after the holiday break fully remote.

Umland added that he believes it’s possible for students to remain in school for in-person learning if protocols are followed by staff, administration and students.

The Gardiner City Council will select a new person to fill the remainder of Umland’s unexpired term, until an election for the seat takes place in November.

People who are interested in taking that seat on the MSAD 11 school board can submit statements to the city of Gardiner until Jan. 15. Gardiner City Manager Christine Landes said an interview process will take place at the City Council meeting Jan. 20. Councilors will cast “secret ballots” at that meeting, she said.


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