The Maine State Board of Education acts in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Education in matters concerning state education laws and makes education policy recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of state government.
The Board's responsibilities under Maine law also include: overseeing approval of school construction projects for receipt of state funds; administering federal funds awarded to Maine for career and technical education; establishing standards for teacher certification; approving educator preparation programs; and recommending institutions of higher education for degree-granting authority.
While the State Board receives some staff support from the Maine Department of Education, it is an independent body.
Announcements & Initiatives
- Strategic Plan (PDF, 83KB). The Maine State Board of Education approved a revised strategic plan on December 15, 2021, that articulates the Board's guiding principles, values and goals for 2022 to 2026.
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NASBE Honors Maine State Board of Education Chair Fern Desjardins with Distinguished Service Award
Alexandria, Va.—The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is pleased to present Fern Desjardins of Maine with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award. This national award honors current and former state board members who have made exceptional contributions to education. It represents one of the highest awards NASBE can bestow on a state board of education member.
Fern Desjardins currently chairs the Maine State Board of Education. She came to the state board in 2018 after a more than 40-year career in public education, first as a classroom teacher and then as a principal and superintendent in a rural school system. The U.S. Department of Education named Dr. Levesque Elementary a Blue Ribbon School during her tenure as its principal. Desjardins taught graduate courses at the University of Maine as an adjunct faculty member for almost a decade, was a member of the Maine Small Schools Coalition and the Maine Department of Education’s Multilingual Learner Advisory Council, and was a grant reader for Maine’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program.
“Beyond Fern’s formal titles and responsibilities, she is simply a person of great character who cares deeply about students, educators, and our state,” said fellow board member Kristin Bishop. “She models a genuine commitment to public service and a desire to contribute to the common good, one that is central to her identity and the work she holds dear; it is clear that education is her calling.”
A thoughtful, purposeful board leader, Desjardins has represented the board and its strategic plan in legislative testimony and has participated in at least five educator preparation program reviews. She also chairs the School Construction Committee and has been involved in other standing and ad hoc committees, including Certification and Higher Education, Legislative Action, and Student Membership. She previously served four years as board representative to the Maine Charter School Commission.
Desjardins is also an engaged member of NASBE. She was elected to be the new member representative on NASBE’s Board of Directors and served in this role for two years before becoming secretary-treasurer in 2021. In that same year, her keen interest in formulating policy and the governance of education led to her chairing the organization’s Public Education Positions Committee. She has participated in NASBE conferences and events and presented to fellow members about state board strategic planning and school building maintenance and construction.
“Fern exemplifies what it means to be the citizen’s voice in education,” said NASBE President and CEO Paolo DeMaria. “She is a passionate, dedicated public servant and her impact on public education in Maine will be felt for years to come. We are delighted to honor her with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award.”
NASBE’s full slate of annual awards will be presented during its Annual Conference in San Diego, California, October 25-28, 2023.
NASBE serves as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.
Mission & Vision
The Maine State Board of Education has adopted the following statements to articulate its mission and vision.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Maine State Board of Education is to provide leadership and to support policy development that promotes equitable access to high-quality educational opportunities for all students in safe, healthy, and inclusive school environments.
Vision Statement: The vision of the Maine State Board of Education is that all students will receive a high-quality education leading to graduation with the skills, knowledge, and principles to be prepared for future learning, careers, and life.
Membership & Organization
The Maine State Board of Education consists of nine members appointed by the Governor along with two nonvoting student members appointed by the Governor.
The Board is organized into four committees that conduct various aspects of the Board's business.
The Maine State Board of Education generally meets monthly at the Cross State Office Building in Augusta.