3 candidates vie for spot on Fort Fairfield school board

2 years ago

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — Three candidates are seeking a three-year term on the SAD 20 school board in Fort Fairfield this November.

Three candidates — Ann Hull, Angela Cormier and incumbent Wendy Ross — are on the ballot.

Fort Fairfield will hold its election from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the community center gym at 18 Community Center Drive.

All of the candidates were asked the same questions. In alphabetical order, here are the candidates and their responses.

Angela Cormier

Age: No answer

Party Affiliation: Republican

Why are you running for school board? As a school occupational therapist, I have spent many years working in local districts, including 13 years in MSAD 20. I have worked with learners of various aptitudes, interests and strengths, while also developing collaborative relationships with teaching staff to help these learners reach their fullest academic potential. To effectively fulfill my role of helping students achieve their goals, it is necessary for me to first understand the needs of each individual student. This practice has not only made me sensitive to the range of challenges our Fort Fairfield students experience, but also has enlightened me to the many challenges that our teaching staff often faces. In addition, through my interactions with student families over the years, as well as my own experience as the mother of two school-aged boys, I feel that I have gained valuable insight related to the academic needs in our community. 

Education: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern Maine. 

Employment: I have more than 22 years of experience as an occupational therapist and have provided school-based services for a variety of local school districts during that time. I am employed full time by RSU 39. 

Family: My husband Ryan, a Fort Fairfield native, and I have been married 23 years in May. Our sons are in the eighth and 11th grades at Fort Fairfield Middle High School. 

What are the top three priorities you wish to address if elected? I would consider it a privilege and a responsibility to serve my community as a member of the MSAD 20 school board, and in such an event, would be devoted to prioritizing student success by carefully considering the potential impact of each decision made, on learners in all stages of achievement. Secondly, I am committed to helping coordinate policies which promote not only student success, but also a sense of student fulfillment, by advocating for a range of academic and extra-curricular opportunities that will serve to meet our students’ interests and needs. Finally, I am dedicated to understanding the perspectives of students, teachers and parents as a critical factor in making effective decisions. I recognize the significance of board decisions in affecting how our students experience satisfaction in their learning environment, how parents trust the efficacy of our academic system and how our teachers are supported in providing optimal learning experiences.

Ann L. Hull

Age: 62

Party Affiliation: Independent/recently changed to Republican

Why are you running for school board? I have two grandchildren that live with me that have attended Fort Fairfield schools since 2016. I have a vested interest in the success of Fort Fairfield Schools. I wanted to get involved, make a difference and give back to the community. I believe that the teachers in Fort Fairfield are hardworking and give 100 percent in helping achieve success with their students.

During the year of total at-home learning during the pandemic, I realized how difficult it was to instruct in a way that both grandchildren understood and learned. Each child was different in their manner of comprehension of the material. I had a newfound appreciation of the teaching profession and how difficult at times it must be to reach every child in a large classroom. 

Education: Associate’s Degree in Legal Administration from NMCC

Employment: ACAP in Presque Isle as a program associate

Family: My grandson who is in third grade and is 8 years old and my granddaughter who is in fifth grade and is 10 years old

What are the top three priorities you wish to address if elected? Increased transparency between the school and the parents. Easier access to information on student curriculums, schedules and communication between school and parents.

Fort Fairfield families need leaders to represent their children that will fight for them at the local, state and federal levels and I am one of the candidates that will do so.

Wendy Ross

Age: 71

Party Affiliation: Democrat (though I’d like to think that school boards are not partisan)

Why are you running for school board? I believe that my work experience and education have provided me with the knowledge and skills to help solve problems and make decisions supportive of students, parents and staff.

Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from University of Maine at Presque Isle; master’s degree in education from University of Maine in Orono; and doctoral work in educational leadership at UMaine.

Employment: Teacher in MSAD 20 for grades two, four, four-five and five-six; New Sweden School principal for pre-K, kindergarten and eighth grade; MSAD 45 in Washburn as director of the 21st Century Afterschool Program; University of Maine at Presque Isle assistant professor in and then director for the College of Education; University of Maine, adjunct faculty in College of Education.

Family: My husband, Milton Ross, is a retired USDA-Community Programs Specialist. We have three children. Dan and Nathan are Fort Fairfield alums. Caitlin attended for one year before transferring to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. Daniel is the superintendent of RSU 76 in Deer Isle. Nathan is a mainframe operations engineer. Caitlin is an emergency room physician in Brisbane, Australia.

What are the top three priorities you wish to address if elected? Curriculum and assessment, academic support systems and effective teaching to enhance student motivation.