Members

The Maine State Board of Education consists of nine members appointed by the Governor. Four must live in Maine's First Congressional District when appointed, four must live in the Second Congressional District, and one can live in either Congressional District. Board members serve staggered, five-year terms.

The Board elects a Chair and Vice Chair annually.

The State Board also has two nonvoting student members appointed by the Governor. At all times, the Board has one high school junior and one high school senior. One student lives in the First Congressional District; the other lives in the Second Congressional District. Student members serve two-year terms. More on student members.

The State Board of Education has four standing committees. Board members also serve on outside boards, commissions and other bodies.

Wilson G. Hess, Chair
Jane S. Sexton, Vice Chair

Amy B. Arata

Wendy L. Ault

John A. Bird

Fern M.Y. Desjardins

Martha J. Harris
Jana F. Lapoint
Vacant
Jaylee E. Rice (Student)
Liberty R. Ladd (Student)

Wilson G. Hess, Chair, is a resident of Freedom.  He and his wife Ellie maintain their home in Freedom where, since 1978 they have raised a family of three daughters on 100 acres of scattered woodland, fields, and lakefront.  Wilson has over 40 years' experience in higher education, including over 20 years as a college president in private independent, two-year public, and four-year public institutions.  He has also been priviledged to serve as a professor of history and thinks of himself first and foremost as an educator.  Wilson holds a deep personal commitment to community service and has a broad range of experiences with public service, economic and community development organizations, and community betterment issues.  Illustrations of his leadership in statewide educational initiatives include service as president of the Maine Independent Colleges Association, appointment by Governor Angus King to the Maine Higher Education Achievement Task Force, and being the immediate past-president of the Maine Higher Education Council.  He currently serves as University of Maine System Research Professor and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor. 

 

465 Belfast Road
Freedom, ME 04941
Email: wghess@pivot.net
Home: 207- 382-6176
Term Ends: 2022

 

Board Committees: Legislative Action, Certification and Higher Education, Career and Technical Education

 

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Jane S. Sexton, Vice Chair, is a resident of Gorham.  She has served on school committees, setting policy and establishing budgets.  Jane served on the building committee for the Gorham Middle School and the Gorham Elementary School.  She has taught at middle school and high school level.  Jane has coached athletes and advised NHS members.  Jane was a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 2009 to 2012.  Her service to the Maine Legislature and taking tours of Maine businesses has given her insight about the many areas of our great state.

 

10 Valley View Drive

Gorham, ME 04038

Email: knappjanes09@gmail.com

Home: 207-839-3880

Term Ends: 2019

 

Board Committees: Legislative Action, Certification and Higher Education (Chair)

 

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Amy B. Arata is a resident of New Gloucester.  She is a graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, MA, and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology.  She also has a Master of Science in Genetics from the University of California, Davis.  Amy is a licensed Maine Real Estate Broker and is a self-employed Real Estate Investment Operator.  As a member of the MSAD #15 school board, she has served on the budget committee, curriculum committee and facilities committee.  Amy is the mother of three teenage boys.       

 

607 Bald Hill Road
New Gloucester, ME 04260
Email: amybarata@gmail.com
Home: 207-333-1817
Term Ends: 2022

 

Board Committees: School Facilities Construction

 

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Wendy L. Ault is a resident of Wayne.  She is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  Wendy served as the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Maine at Farmington for seventeen years.  During her tenure at UMF, she was elected to four terms in the Maine House of Representatives representing part of Kennebec County from 1988 through 1996.  She served all eight years as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Culrural Affairs, serving as its House Chair during her final term.  Wendy is the Executive Director of the MELMAC Education Foundation.

 

26 Pond Road
Wayne, ME 04284
Email: ault@melmacfoundation.org
Phone:
Term Ends: 2022

 

Board Committees: Certification and Higher Education, Career and Technical Education

 

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John A. Bird is a resident of Rockland.  John spent the last eighteen years of a forty-seven year career in the non-profit world as a leadership and management consultant to non-profit organizations across the country and internationally.  He retired as President of a ten-partner firm, Educator's Collaborative, in July 2007.  His clients included 268 independent schools and other organizations located in 41 states and five foreign nations and territories.  Before beginning his consulting career in 1989, John spent 29 years in independent education, five years in full-time teaching, five years as a senior administrator and teacher, and 19 years as a head of school.  In addition to his long career in the field of education, John currently serves on the boards of the Strand Theater, the Penobscot Bay YMCA, and the Island Institute.  John is also a member of the Maine Charter School Commission, the seven-member authorizing body for charter schools in Maine.  John grew up in Rockland, Maine and received his B.A. degree from Bowdoin College.  He also has an M.A. from George Washington University.  John and his wife of 55 years, Mary Alice, now live in Rockland.  They have three grown children and six grandchildren.

 

51 Masonic Street
Rockland, ME 04841
Email: jabmab51@gmail.com
Home: 207-596-6276
Term Ends: 2021

 

Board Committees: Legislative Action, Career and Technical Education (Chair)

Outside Membership: Maine Charter School Commission

 

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Fern M.Y. Desjardins is a resident of St. Agatha.  Fern had a 43-year career in PK-12 education as an elementary school teacher, principal, and Superintendent of Schools in the rural, small school system of MSAD 33.  Under her principalship, Dr. Levesque Elementary School was designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.  Fern is a life-long learner who holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Language Arts from UMaine, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from USM, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UMFK. She has taught graduate level courses for UMaine as an adjunct faculty member in their outreach programs in Aroostook County, served on UMFK’s Board of Visitors (one year as President and two as Vice President), Northern Maine Medical Center's (NMMC) Board of Trustees, and she has been an active member of numerous educational associations and committees.  Since her retirement, Fern maintains educational affiliations by working as a facilitator for school systems and by serving on various committees or special projects of the Maine DOE.  She volunteers at her local church, parish, and at the diocese level.  Fern and her husband, Francis, have three grown children and three grandchildren. 

185 Main Street
St. Agatha, ME 04772
Email: fern.desjardins8@gmail.com
Home: 543-6005
Term Ends: 2023

Board Committees: School Facilities Construction
Outside Membership: Maine Charter School Commission

 

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Martha J. Harris resides in Winterport with her husband. She is the mother of two grown sons who were ably educated through the public school system in Maine. She has recently entered her 21st year as a Board member of RSU 22/SAD 22. She has a Bachelor of Science from Tufts University, an MSW from Rutgers University, and a JD from Northeastern University. Martha has been in the general practice of law in Bangor since 1977. She brings the perspective of living in a small town and being involved in the local school board. Martha currently serves as Chair of the State Board of Education.

489 Monroe Road
Winterport, ME 04496
Email: mharrismsbe@yahoo.com
Home: 207-299-8191
Term Ends: 2021

 

Board Committees: Legislative Action, School Facilities Construction (Chair), Student Voices (Chair)


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Jana F. Lapoint is a resident of Falmouth. Jana earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree with high honors from the University of Bridgeport. She is a former business teacher and taught at the New Canaan High School. Jana previously owned Lapoint Industries in Auburn, Maine, and she is currently a consultant for Packgen and UF Strainrite of Auburn. Jana served as a trustee on the Maine Community College System board for 11 years, with two years as Chair. She also was a Trustee at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts for six years. Jana currently serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity and Cheverus High School. She is a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House and the University of Southern Maine School of Music. Jana received a Distinguished Service Award from Dean College and a Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of Maine.  Jana currently serves as Vice Chair of the State Board of Education.

110 Woodlands Drive
Falmouth, ME 04105
Email: Jana.F.Lapoint@gmail.com
Home: 207-781-7472
Term Ends: 2019

Board Committees: Legislative Action (Chair), Certification and Higher Education, Career and Technical Education
Outside Membership: Maine Charter School Commission

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Vacant

Board Committees:

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Jaylee E. Rice is a student at Nokomis Regional High School.  She was appointed to the board by the Governor in March of 2018.  Jaylee's most intriguing passion is music.  Her activities include jazz combo and jazz ensemble, imperial band, marching band, show chorus and drama club - both musicals and plays.  She currently plays the alto saxophone at Nokomis Regional High School.  Jaylee's academic interest include Science and History. 

308 Hartland Road
St. Albans, ME 04971
Email: Jrice20@rsu19.net
Home: 416-9192
Term Ends: 2020

Board Committees: Student Voices

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Liberty R. Ladd is a student at Falmouth High School.  She was appointed to the board by the Governor in May of 2017.  Her activities include Women's Rights Advocacy Club, Improvisation Club, Civics Club and Underclassman Representative to the SAIL Committee.  Liberty participates in Varsity Field Hockey and Varsity Softball and she is a volunteer at Falmouth Youth Field Hockey and Softball.  Her academic interest include United States History, Chemistry, and United States Government and Politics.

338 Foreside Road
Falmouth, ME 04105
Email: libertyladd@yahoo.com
Home: 420-3424
Term Ends: 2019

Board Committees: Student Voices

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