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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 84




TO:                Superintendents of Schools and High School Principals


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:             March 13, 2007


RE:                 Expanding Student Leadership Opportunities  


I write to inform you of what I consider to be very exciting news and to ask for your assistance in moving forward with this significant project.  I am pleased to announce that Maine is one of two states in the nation that has been awarded a grant to assist in developing a systematic way to bring students to the State Board of Education as members with voice, but without vote at this juncture.


The State Board voted last spring to begin the process that would place two students on the Board-one junior and one senior.  Each year after the year of implementation for high school student participation, a junior high school student would join the Board for a two-year term.  Except for the vote, student members will have full privileges and responsibilities of membership.  For example, students will receive the same standard per diem rate for participation as do current members, and they will be expected to review the materials necessary to prepare for our regular meetings.


The grant that we received calls for the engagement of students in identifying candidates and in designing the criteria that will be used to determine who will participate.  To that end, we plan to gather students at a conference in late spring to address these issues and to discuss some selected educational public policy issues.  What is critical to the success of this gathering is that we have the right students present.


I am asking for your assistance in identifying those students we should invite to the conference.  Please send us the names of any students who are juniors or sophomores who now serve on your school committee or school board.  In addition to their names, we would appreciate receiving their addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail address, if possible.  Please send this information to the State Board of Education, Attention:  Rhonda Casey, Burton M. Cross Building, Augusta, Maine 04333 or call Rhonda at 624-6616.  Her e-mail is  We will ask for your assistance in identifying junior high school students later, during our first year of implementation for high school student participation.


Unfortunately, our time line is short.  Therefore, we would appreciate receiving this information by April 6, 2007.  I would also urge you to add the names of students who are not on your local committee or board, but whom you think would be ideal candidates to participate in this program.  I hasten to add that we will reimburse for expenses of travel to this conference for students.


I sincerely apologize for creating this additional work, but I hope that you agree with me that this is a good project, worthy of our cooperation to implement it effectively.  Thank you for your cooperation and I look forward to hearing from you.