The Portland Public Schools has filled two key positions at Central Office: Helene DiBartolomeo as the new executive director of finance and Dr. Sarah Warren as executive director of operations. The district also has hired three assistant principals: Darralynn Jones at Lyman Moore Middle School; Hermenegildo Paulo at Talbot Community School; and Melissa Richard at Rowe Elementary School.
The Board of Public Education approved the appointments of the three assistant principals as its Aug. 15 meeting. The Board was also introduced at that time to DiBartolomeo and Warren.
DiBartolomeo, who most recently has been serving as the town of Cumberland’s finance director, is a CPA with more than two decades of professional financial experience that includes working with municipalities and as the CFO of a school district. As the district’s new executive director of finance, DiBartolomeo will direct all accounting, fiscal operations, payroll, and budgeting functions and be responsible for strategic planning, and ensuring sound fiscal management and oversight of all local and grant funds. DiBartolomeo will start two days a week in August and transition to full time in October.
Warren, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Harvard, has most recently served as the executive director of whole child services and support for the Baltimore Public Schools. She has a track record of more than 20 years as a strategic thinker and problem-solver skilled at managing through crisis and change. As the district’s new executive director of operations, Warren will oversee the district’s operational functions, including the Facilities & Maintenance Department, the Food Services Department, the Transportation Department and the Information Technology Department. Warren started on Aug. 14.
“We are excited to have Helene DiBartolomeo and Sarah Warren join our Central Office team in these key positions,” said Superintendent Ryan Scallon. “I’m confident that both of these new leaders have the experience, skills and dedication to ensure the smooth operation of district functions, which is essential in supporting a successful teaching and learning environment for all.”
Scallon also welcomed the three new assistant principals. “These strong leaders are a welcome addition to our schools,” Scallon said. “Assistant principals play a vital role in ensuring that students connect and engage with school and these three will enhance the strong leadership teams at these schools.”
More about these new administrators is below:
Helene DiBartolomeo, PPS Executive Director of Finance: Helene is joining the Portland Public Schools from the town of Cumberland, where she served as the Finance Director for four years. Previously, she worked in Florida as the CFO of a K-12 school district with 18,000 students, 3,400 employees and a budget of an estimated $250 million. Her passion for working in school finance led the way to getting the school district back on financial track during her tenure.
Helene’s experience includes union negotiations, long and short-term financing, managing HR and benefits, internal controls, project management for enterprise software conversions, and financial audit and budget management. In her new role at the Portland Public Schools, Helene is excited to use her knowledge, skills, and experience to develop a strong finance team.
Helene is a licensed CPA from Florida, holds a master’s degree in accountancy from the University of West Florida, and a bachelor's degree in business from Florida Atlantic University.
As a child of Puerto Rican/Dominican immigrants, Helene is sensitive to issues of diversity in the workplace. Helene likes to garden, watch her daughter play soccer, ride bikes with her husband, and learn the violin.
Darralynn Jones, Assistant Principal, Lyman Moore Middle School: Darralynn feels incredibly honored to have been chosen to work alongside Principal Ben Donaldson to lead the instructional efforts at Lyman Moore Middle School. She looks forward to building relationships and creating a safe, strong learning environment for students and staff.
Darralynn is a native of Detroit, Michigan. After graduation from high school, she moved to Ohio to pursue a degree in biology pre-med from Central State University and earned a bachelor's degree in biology. Next, she pursued a master's degree in educational leadership from Marygrove College. After graduate school, she started her family, then went into teaching grades 6-12. During her 17-year career as an educator, she has served students as both a teacher and in leadership roles as a content and cultural leader.
Darralynn looks forward to living and working in Portland and is excited to start a new chapter in this beautiful city, a region rich in character and welcoming diversity.
Darralynn and her husband have two incredible sons. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her family, and interior design.
Hermenegildo Paulo, Assistant Principal, Talbot Community School: Hermenegildo, an educator with over 19 years of teaching and leadership experience, is excited to assume his new role as assistant principal at Talbot Community School. Hermenegildo holds a bachelor's degree in math education from the Instituto Superior de Ciências da Educação de Luanda in Angola. He also earned a postgraduate certificate in educational management from the Catholic University of Brasília in Brazil. Currently, Hermenegildo is furthering his education by taking coursework in educational leadership at the University of Southern Maine.
In his most recent role in Angola, Hermenegildo spent more than 12 years teaching math at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He also worked at Reiche Elementary School as an educational technician, supporting multilingual students and families by implementing culturally responsive approaches to meet their needs. Over the last three years, he taught math to sixth- and seventh-graders at King Middle School in Portland.
Outside of the classroom, Hermenegildo is a dedicated soccer player, an enthusiastic Kizomba dancer, and a meticulous car detailer. These hobbies reflect his energy, creativity, and attention to detail – qualities that he brings to his professional life as well.
Hermenegildo is committed to fostering strong community partnerships, promoting collaboration and driving continuous improvement in teaching, learning, and school culture.
Melissa Richard, Assistant Principal, Rowe Elementary School: Melissa is joining the Portland Public Schools from Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth, where she most recently was interim assistant principal and previously worked as a math interventionist. Prior to that, she spent six years as an elementary classroom teacher in first and second grade, worked as a special educator, and provided early intervention to students through Child Development Services.
She holds a master's degree from Lesley University in curriculum and instruction – integrative teaching through the arts, and is working on her EdD in education.
Melissa is passionate about music and enjoys singing with the Portland-based band, Under the Covers. She loves trying new plant-based recipes with her husband in her downtime and cuddling with their black lab, Basil.
Melissa looks forward to building relationships with staff, students, families, and community members at Rowe School and in the Portland district!
Dr. Sarah Warren, PPS Executive Director of Operations: Sarah is thrilled to be returning home to Maine to join the Portland Public Schools team. She was born in Brunswick, raised in Hallowell and Manchester, and spent many weekends of her youth in Cape Elizabeth. She graduated from Maranacook Community School in Readfield and later went on to earn a B.A. from Haverford College and both a master’s in education and doctorate in Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
While growing up in Manchester, Sarah was a friend and classmate of Maine's youngest peace ambassador, Samantha Smith. After Samantha's tragic passing in 1985, Sarah had the opportunity to travel to what was then the Soviet Union with twenty of her peers on a memorial exchange. This experience was life-changing. It ignited her passion for cross-cultural exploration and connection and ultimately paved the way for a two-decade career in international humanitarian aid and development. She served in leadership roles with organizations such as Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and Right To Play in multiple countries throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Balkans.
In 2014, Sarah decided to bring her leadership experience, deep commitment to social justice, and love of children to the education sector in the U.S. Since then, she has worked with a number of districts around the country, including the Chelsea Public Schools outside Boston, and, most recently, the Baltimore City Public Schools. In Baltimore, Sarah built the district's whole child department, which provided programs and services for students, families, and schools in areas such as social-emotional learning, restorative practices, attendance, athletics, health, home and hospital instruction, and more.
One of the most important things that Sarah has learned over the past several years is that a district can only achieve its goals for teaching and learning, whole child development, and equity if all of the system's operations are strong and well-aligned to a shared educational mission – and if every adult sees how they contribute to that larger effort. Sarah will bring that perspective to this essential work, along with her enthusiasm to be part of the richly diverse, dynamic learning community that the Portland Public Schools is today.
The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 49.8 percent of the district’s students are white and 50.2 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.