Considering the position you are running for, what do you feel are the three most pressing issues?
Schools face declining enrollment throughout the Northeast and certainly in our own region. I experience this first-hand in my work at the Y, where we see fewer numbers of kids each year. Given our demographics, we face the challenge of maintaining the quality of our schools while we make important decisions about the future. My hope is to do all I can to maintain the high quality and relevancy of the Boothbay schools which serve a broad range of students. I recognize the many challenges and important decisions we must make as a community and the importance of listening to each other as we do so. As a taxpayer, I am keenly aware of the issue of school funding. School budgets must be carefully considered, crafted with care and our money spent wisely and efficiently, particularly in light of the current challenges presented by our aging facilities.
An issue faced in every community is fully supporting its children and youth both in and out of school. Community collaborations and involvement play an important role. The Y, located directly across the street from school buildings, is certainly well situated. I will work to build upon the collaboration between the schools and the Y, as well as work to strengthen connections with our region’s other community organizations.
Any other thoughts on why you are running or what you can bring to the office?
In my role at the Y, I meet many people, but if I haven’t met you, let me introduce myself. My belief in the transformative power of education led me to pursue graduate school and a career in education. Indeed, I have extensive experience working in and around schools from pre-schools to higher education. I’ve worked as a teacher, administrator and community service coordinator. I’ve lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine and grew up in a small upstate New York town, where my high school class graduated 62. I learned to love and appreciate the care for each other that a small town and small school can bring.
I’m a parent of three grown children (age 25, 28 and 30) who now all work in, or study, education in Maine. My husband, Erik Bertelsen and I bought our home in East Boothbay 15 years ago. Seven years later, Erik retired from his career in education and I began at the Y. One of our wonderful children has autism, with him we’ve learned so much about the needs of learning differences and special education. At the Y, I’ve met and worked with all ages. I’ve run the Y Youth and Teen Center and I also teach the Senior (Citizens) Fitness classes. When I was asked to run for the School Committee, I knew I would welcome the opportunity to do all I can to support our schools and our community. I will work to build upon the care that our community already has for our schools and our kids.