BANGOR, Maine — Three candidates seeking two seats on the Bangor School Committee are scheduled to participate in a public forum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Bangor Public Library.
Incumbent Mary Budd is running for re-election along with two newcomers, Kate Dickerson and Jay Ye. Longtime school committee member Phyllis Shubert will not seek re-election.
The School Committee has seven members who are elected to three-year terms. Those terms are staggered so voters select no more than three candidates in any given year.
Here is a look at the candidates, in alphabetical order:
Mary Budd, 40, is a freelance editorial consultant working for education management organizations, charter school founders and nonprofit education reform advocacy groups.
Budd has three children in three different Bangor schools. She was first elected to the School Committee in 2007. She said she’s running for re-election because she believes that although the school department has seen exceptional results, the community cannot rest on its laurels.
Her top three priorities are:
– To explore innovative ways to do more with less, including community partnerships to provide quality before- and after-school programs.
– To advocate for the Bangor School Department locally and on the state level to help shape public policies that serve the best interests of students and taxpayers.
– To promote the incorporation of technological tools from the earliest levels.
“I’ve been working outside the box for the better part of 20 years, and I’ve seen seemingly intractable problems solved through persistence and creativity,” she said.
Kate Dickerson, 41, is a research associate at the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center focusing on energy and environmental policy.
She said she’s running for the school committee because she believes Bangor has an outstanding school system that she would like to make sure continues. She has two children in the system.
Dickerson said her top three priorities are:
– To advocate for more flexibility from the state and federal governments regarding their requirements for educational success.
– To raise awareness of the investment necessary to make sure that Bangor’s schoolchildren are able to thrive and become lifelong learners.
– To make sure Bangor addresses the needs of all students, not just the special needs kids on both sides of the spectrum.
“I am a firm believer in the power of education. It is through learning and knowledge that we are able to achieve, either as individuals or as a whole community,” Dickerson said.
Jay Ye, 48, is a physician and biomedical researcher who was born and raised in China but moved to the United States at age 26. He and his family have lived in the Bangor area for the last 11 years.
His daughter recently graduated from Bangor High School and his son is currently an eighth-grader at the William S. Cohen Middle School.
His top three priorities are:
– To ensure that academic excellence for all students is the school system’s No. 1 priority.
– To nurture a new generation of young people with excellent academic achievement to make them ready for global competitiveness
– To continuously improve the school system’s ability to achieve excellence in cost-effective ways.
“We need to create and maintain a pleasant and encouraging environment for all the teachers to channel their passion for teaching and their creative energy into the most productive usage,” Ye said.