News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, February 14, 2019
Five candidates for three seats on Sedgwick School Board

by Anne Berleant

Town elections are Friday, March 1, with contested races for three open school board seats. Two are three-year seats, with four candidates running, including two incumbents. One seat is for two years, with two candidates, including incumbent Sommer Anderson, who entered both races..

In uncontested town elections, incumbents Robert Publicover (second selectman), Cindy Reilly (town clerk) and Paul Carter (road commissioner), all seek three-year terms.

School Board, three-year term, two seats

Sommer Anderson, incumbent

With one full term behind her, Anderson seeks reelection “because I feel I have a lot of unfinished business. I just got my feet wet, I’m learning a lot, and I’m not ready to walk away,” she said. She decided to submit nomination papers for both seats to increase her chances and to give voters a choice in all open seats.

With a kindergartener and first grader attending Sedgwick Elementary School, Anderson also drives a school bus for Sedgwick and has worked for Brown’s Busing on and off since 2015.

Anderson said there is no program in place at the school that she feels is unnecessary or inappropriate. For policies, she said, “I still feel I’m in a learning process.”

She is satisfied with the board’s work on annual school budgets. “We’re really transparent and we work really hard to keep the budget down to an appropriate amount for the town to be able to afford,” she said. “I’m a taxpayer myself and don’t want to see my taxes go up more than I can afford. But at the same time I want our children to receive what they deserve.”

Why vote for Anderson? “I am a little bit more seasoned so I feel I have a good point of view on the board now. I have two young children in the school, I’m very active with our school, and I feel like I’m connected. I’m a community member and just want what’s best for our school.”

Marti Brill, incumbent

Brill has served on the board since her 2014 appointment to fill a vacancy and has been elected twice since. She seeks a second, full three-year term, to continue working to support board goals .

“Over the last few years, as a board we’ve been sort of overwhelmed with [two] new principals and a new superintendent,” Brill said. “We haven’t really had a chance to do a strategic plan. I’m excited to be part of that.”

With the board “working to increase the rigor of the education [at the school], I’d like to see that formalized as part of the strategic plan,” she added.

Brill said “teaching to the tests” is important if it’s meaninful. “We are really working hard to figure out which [standardized] tests give us useful information in a timely manner.”

She would also like to see the school move “towards a more experiential learning model,” noting hours for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) instructor were included in the 2019-20 proposed budget.

“That will also enlarge our enrichment offerings,” she said. “If we can find a way to reach every student and have them engaged, that’s the goal.”

Brill said the board has worked to keep budget increases very close to increases in the cost of living “without doing damage to the programs. It’s a very lean budget.”

Brill runs a small farm,and is in the Maine Master Naturalist program, an adult literacy volunteer, and office manager for Nichols Day Camps. She has one son in college.

Why vote for Brill? “I don’t mind a little confrontation so I will ask the tough questions. And it really takes a board member a couple years to get up to speed, so I think an experienced board member is a valuable asset.”

Kelly Samperi

Samperi seeks a seat on the school board because she “really wants to be informed and part of the decision-making. There’s been a lot of changes recently, new administration, new policies.”

With one child in third grade, another set to start preschool in 2020, and her oldest a Sedgwick graduate, Samperi said she thinks everyone at the school “is really, really trying hard.” But she would like to see the special education program strengthened and for teachers and parents to receive more training in the restorative justice program.

“We’re all working towards the same goals,” Samperi said. “Sedgwick used to excel in special education and I think it has fallen off. I’d like to see it be as strong as it was a couple of years ago.”

Samperi attended recent budget meetings held by the board and said, “In general, they’re spending the right amount in the right places. I know there was a bump when pre-K went in and [it was] totally worth it.”

Samperi is a past president and current assistant treasurer for the Covenant Community Land Trust, worked as an ed. tech. in the Brooklin School’s pre-K for two years, has worked as a legal secretary, and owns her own cleaning business.

Why vote for Samperi? “I have experience within the school system, and I have 12 years to go [with children in school], so I’m in it for the long haul. I think I have something to bring to the board to hopefully help the school and help the town out.”

Beth Sullivan

Sullivan seeks to serve on the school board “because I have kids in school and I would like to be able to have a say or a vote with changes.”

She has four children attending school in Sedgwick and coaches the boys basketball team.

Sullivan said she would like to see parents and teachers more educated on the restorative justice program at the school. “I think it’s a great program, I would just like to see more proof of why it’s so great, for my own sake and because of the dissatisfaction in the community over it.”

She would like to see baseball and softball return to Sedgwick, and the robotics program, while noting that the programs and policies already in place “are great.”

Sullivan is satisfied with the school budget. “I think it’s a great amount that we are receiving, and I think it’s placed fairly throughout and spent wisely. But I personally think that a little bit more could be beneficial.” She mentioned running into “financial problems” with the basketball team. “How would you be able to budget two to three other sports without more money?”

Sullivan is co-secretary for the Covenant Community Land Trust in Sedgwick, and an employee of Jordan Fernald Funeral Home.

Why vote for Sullivan? “Because I have a great perspective and a great outlook on things. I’m okay with changes. I feel as if I’m a positive person.”

School Board, two-year term, one seat

Sommer Anderson

See above.

Joanne Hardy

Hardy seeks a seat on the school board because “I want to become a more active community member. I will have children in the Sedgwick school for the next 10 years. I figured an opportunity arose and I am trying to take it.”

Hardy has one child in the Sedgwick preschool program and a set of 2-year-old twins.

“I feel the school has done a really good job making sure programs are available for the students, and I think the policies in place are working,” she said. “I think the school is doing great.”

Hardy would like to see the return of the Lego Robotics program though.

“I think it’s the one activity that children who don’t necessarily consider themselves athletic look forward to. It was a good group activity and a lot of good, positive things have come from it.”

Hardy is satisfied with the current school budget, noting, “I think they are utilizing [the funds] wisely.”

A certified nursing assistant, Hardy has worked at the Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle, and serves on the road committee for her subdivision association.

Why vote for Hardy? “I think I’m a very level headed person. I think I work well in a group setting. I have a positive attitude and my one interest is to make sure that any changes made are positive ones and that the children are the number one interest.”

Candidate Sommer Anderson

Sommer Anderson.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Candidate Marti Brill

Marti Brill.

Photo courtesy of the candidate
Candidate Joanne Hardy

Joanne Hardy.

Photo courtesy of the candidate
Candidate Kelly Samperi

Kelly Samperi.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Candidate Beth Sullivan

Beth Sullivan.

Photo courtesy of the candidate