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New Members & Chair for School Board

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New Members & Chair for School Board
Posted on 12/07/2020
This is the image for the news article titled New Members & Chair for School BoardThe Portland Board of Public Education on Dec. 7 held a virtual ceremony to inaugurate its newest members. The board also voted unanimously to choose District 2 member Emily Figdor as chair for the coming year.

Sworn in by City Clerk Katherine Jones were newly elected Board members Jeffrey Irish (District 5), Aura Russell-Bedder (District 4) and Yusuf Yusuf (At-large). Seats on the Board are for three-year terms.

Also sworn in were five student representatives to the Board: Tessa Boxer-Macomber, representing Portland High School; Haley Allen, representing Casco Bay High School; Emily Cheung, representing Deering High School; Abagail Hill, representing the Portland Arts & Technology High School (PATHS); and Mangasa Yangala, representing Portland Adult Education. 

At-large member Anna Trevorrow made the formal nomination to select Figdor as chair. Before being elected to the Board two years ago, Figdor was known as a community activist who led the winning campaign to pass a $64 million bond in 2017 to renovate four Portland elementary schools. Trevorrow said Figdor’s goals as an activist were always about bettering the school district as a whole and that her activist skills in that regard would be “transferable to chairmanship” of the Board.

At-large member Roberto Rodriguez said it had been “an honor and a privilege” to lead the Board as Chair over the past two years and said he was happy to pass the leadership baton on to Figdor. He said that during her time as Board member, he has admired her dedication, clear communication and the clarity she brings to decision making. 

In her inaugural address, Figdor outlined three priorities she sees for the Board. One is to develop and put into practice a district equity policy. Another is to achieve universal pre-kindergarten, including transportation services for pre-K families. Third, she said, “we need to fully fund the Lau Plan, our plan to provide an equitable education to our many English Language Learners.”

At the ceremony, Board members also honored three members stepping down this year: Marnie Morrione (District 5), who completed four terms, and Tim Atkinson (District 4) and Mark Balfantz (at-large), who each served one term.

Read Figdor’s inaugural address. Watch the inaugural ceremony on YouTube. Read more about the ceremony.

PHOTO: Pictured is Board of Public Education Chair Emily Figdor.