June 22, 2018
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Many Flags board to hold inaugural meeting

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The newly appointed board to oversee development of the Many Flags/One Community project aimed at career and technical education for the region will hold its first meeting next week at one of the businesses that could eventually benefit.

The Many Flags board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening at snowplow manufacturer Fisher Engineering in Rockland’s Industrial Park.

“This has been a long time in coming,” said Many Flags Foundation Executive Director Alan Hinsey in a news release issued this week.

He said this was the first model in the state to achieve this level of regionwide integration of advanced career and technical education. Hinsey said the project will improve the workforce and economic development in the midcoast area.

The initial work of the new board will be to coordinate programs and services for all high-school, career, technical and higher-education students in the region. Students will be offered early college and dual credits, and technology will be used to provide virtual learning opportunities.

Eventually, the goal is build a new campus for a regional high school, a career and technical school, a higher education center and industry-directed training centers. The Many Flags Foundation had eyed a parcel on Route 131 in South Thomaston but let that option expire last year.

The state has yet to set aside money for a new campus and last month Maine Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen said he was not sure when money would be available.

Hinsey said state and local government officials as well as local business leaders will be at the Tuesday evening meeting that he calls a “milestone event.”

The public is invited to attend tours of Fisher Engineering at 50 Gordon Drive that run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. There were will be opening remarks from state and local officials at 6:30 p.m. followed by the first board meeting at 7 p.m.

Members of the Many Flags board have been appointed by the local school boards that make up the service area. Appointed thus far to the board are Tori Manzi and William Shuttleworth from the Five Town Community School District that represents Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville; Loren Andrews and Carol Bachofner who represent Regional School Unit 13 that includes Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing; Lynda Letteney and Kimberly Appleby who represent Region 8 Midcoast School of Technology; Kathy Warren of Vinalhaven who represents that island as well as North Haven and Islesboro; and Thomas Abbott, the dean of distance learning at the University of Maine at Augusta who will represent the university system. The Maine Community College System has yet to appoint its representative to Many Flags.

RSU 40 — which consists of Waldoboro, Warren, Union, Friendship and Washington — has refused to participate and declined to send representatives to the board. Hinsey said two seats have been set aside for RSU 40 if it chooses to participate.

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