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Superintendent Search Committee Has 8th Rep - October 21

The Portland Board of Public Education on Oct. 18 approved another community representative to serve on the Superintendent Search Committee. The appointment of Lucy Shulman, a Portland resident who is an adjunct instructor at Portland Adult Education, brings the number of community representatives on the committee to eight. The Board approved the appointment of the seven other community representatives at its Oct. 11 meeting.

The Board voted in September to create the Search Committee to assist in conducting the search for the next superintendent. Xavier Botana has announced he will be leaving his position as Portland Public Schools superintendent at the end of this 2022-2023 school year. The Board’s goal is to hire a new superintendent by May 14, 2023, to allow for a smooth transition for his replacement, who’ll start on July 1, 2023.

Wanting to reflect its commitment to community engagement and transparency, the Board determined that the Search Committee would include not only five Board members but also seven community members to lead the selection process. The Board later expanded the number of community representatives to eight to ensure that Portland Adult Education (PAE) was represented.

The Board’s Appointments Committee launched a recruitment questionnaire in early September, which was open through Oct. 3. It yielded a total of 55 community applicants.  The Appointments Committee reviewed those applications on Oct. 7 and developed a slate of candidates that the Board approved Oct. 11. At that meeting, the Board also approved an amendment to the original resolution to add an eighth community member from PAE.

The Appointments Committee then met virtually to review the PAE applicants on the list and consulted with PAE Director Abbie Yamamoto. The Appointments Committee decided to recommend Lucy Shulman. In addition to being a PAE instructor, Shulman is a former PAE student and has also worked as a mentor for PAE’s summer programs.  She has taught English overseas and is currently working on her master’s degree in teaching at USM. Shulman’s name was brought forward at the Board’s Oct. 18 meeting for approval.

The eight community members of the Superintendent Search Committee are:

●      Alissa Bourque, director of the district’s pre-kindergarten programs.

●      Kerrie Dowdy, teacher and president of the Portland Education Association

●      Manar Eltahir, senior at Deering High School and president of the DHS Black Student Union

●      Joseph Inabanza, a 2021 graduate of Casco Bay High School and a former Portland Board of Public Education student representative

●      Betsy Paz-Gyimesi, a family engagement specialist in the district’s Multilingual and Multicultural Center serving the district’s Latinx students and families

●      Lucy Shulman, PAE adjunct instructor

●      Barbara Stoddard, executive director of Human Resources for the past eight years. She is stepping down from the role in November but will serve on the committee as a Portland resident and the parent of two PPS graduates.

●      Matthew Winch, a PPS parent who serves on the Buildings for our Future District Advisory Building Committee

Learn more about the community representatives on the Superintendent Search Committee.

The five Board members of the Search Committee are Board Chair and District 2 representative Emily Figdor; Board Vice Chair and District 3 representative Adam Burk; at-large Board member Nyalat Biliew; at-large Board member Sarah Lentz; and District 1 Board member Micky Bondo.

Figdor and Burk are the co-chairs of the Superintendent Search Committee. The committee held its first meeting on Oct. 24. Watch on YouTube.

The Committee's next meeting is on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Casco Bay Room at Central Office, located 353 Cumberland Avenue. The public is invited to attend this hybrid meeting in person or virtually. For agenda and joining info go to & click on "Board" tab at top right, then BoardDocs.