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School Board Inaugurates New Members; Re-elects Chair

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School Board Inaugurates New Members; Re-elects Chair
Posted on 12/01/2014

At a ceremony at City Hall on Monday, Dec. 1, the Portland Board of Public Education inaugurated its newest members and then voted unanimously to elect at-large school board member Sarah Thompson, who has been school board chair for the past year, to a second one-year term as chair.

Thompson thanked fellow board members “for placing their trust in my leadership ability” and she thanked teachers and other school staff for their work to improve student achievement, which she said is the board’s priority.

Taking the oath of office on at the ceremony were two new members who won seats in the Nov. 4 election: Stephanie S. Hatzenbuehler, the new District 4 representative; and John M. Eder, who was elected to an at-large seat.

Also inaugurated was Marnie S. Morrione, who was re-elected to serve a third term as the District 5 school board representative. Board members’ terms run for three years.

Three student representatives also were inaugurated at Monday’s ceremony: Sophie VanDerburgh of Casco Bay High School; Sahra Ahmed of Deering High School; and John Phan of Portland High School. Student reps serve one-year terms and don’t have official voting powers, but are elected by their peers to carry the student voices of their schools to the board.

A number of Portland Public Schools students also participated in the ceremony, held in City Council Chambers. Holly Hinchliffe, a Portland High School student, sang the National Anthem. Two second-graders from Longfellow Elementary School, Eva Hatzenbuehler and Kate Worden, led the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Four fifth-graders from Presumpscot Elementary School, Norah Lennon, Yusra Idow, Mena Eltahir and Philip Martin, recited The Portland Creed. And Deering High School students Veve Hashimoto, on flute, and Olivia Blom, on clarinet, played a duet during a musical interlude.

Thompson also announced at the ceremony that the board, starting in February, would change its regular meeting location, holding its first meeting each month in City Council Chambers at City Hall and its second monthly meeting at alternating schools in the district, in order to improve public access to board meetings.

The board also recognized outgoing board member Justin Costa, who won election to the District 4 City Council seat on Nov. 4, and thanked him and former member Elizabeth Brooks, who stepped down in January to move to Scotland, for their service. Also recognized and thanked for their service were outgoing student representatives Mohamed Nur, of Deering High School; Hallie Repeta of Portland High School; and Eliza D’Anieri of Casco Bay High School.

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Chair Sarah Thompson and Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk                     
listen to a reading of The Portland Creed by Presumpscot students.   

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New board members are sworn in by City Clerk Katherine Jones. From left
are student representatives John Phan of Portland High School; Sahra Ahmed
of Deering High School; District 5 board member Marnie Morrione; District 4
board member Stephanie Hatzenbuehler; At-large board member John Eder;
and student representative Sophie VanDerburgh of Casco Bay High School.

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Portland High School student Holly Hinchliffe sings the National Anthem
while school board chair Sarah Thompson and Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk salute the flag.