I am very concerned about how our schools in South Portland will handle challenges to funding as we go forward. Although state revenue losses have not been as severe as feared, lost tax revenue from decreased tourism and the like may well lead to challenges to school budgets. I am ready to put in the time and energy to find creative and realistic ways to make sure our schools continue to serve all students well. Some of my top goals are to make sure our schools can --
Ensure equity in schoolwide systems and opportunities.
Advance school budgets mindful of taxpayers, including seniors on fixed incomes.
Fund arts and sports programs.
Hire and support racially diverse teachers and administrators.
Invest in climate-friendly energy and transportation.
I moved to South Portland's Ferry Village in 1990, after growing up in Lewiston and studying and working in various parts of the USA, France, and Mexico. My husband Mitsuru, a medical technologist, and my 9th-grade son Che-Hao, who's passionate about soccer and music, love our neighborhood for its olden days atmosphere and its generous, supportive residents.
Teaching and working creatively are at the core of who I am. In the Linguistics Department at the University of Southern Maine, I work with students from Maine and many parts of the world, as well as world language teachers in local high schools. I also work with area high school students to produce a public affairs radio show -- WMPG's Blunt YouthRadio program that I founded more than 20 years ago.
Donations from the community
My top priorities for 2021 are equity and safety for all students and teachers, action around anti-racist teaching and practices, comprehensive health education and life changing sports and arts programs, healthy school buildings, green energy and climate friendly transportation and school budgets that don't place undue burden on our taxpayers. In addition, I believe it is imperative that we provide teachers with technology skills that are engaging and focus on student learning in meaningful and relevant ways. My vision is to make sure our schools are safe places for all students to learn the academic and social skills to become productive adults and community members.
I have been an educator for 24 years and I am dedicated and passionate about teaching and helping student's navigate life's challenges. I am also a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and as an openly transgender man I know it's like to experience gender dysphoria and discrimination. I want to be a role model and amplify all students voices. I am dedicated to helping students and our community recognize, understand and change unconscious biases. I am a volunteer with Wabanaki REACH where I help to educate schools and community organizations about the history of the Indigenous tribes here in Maine and the impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples. We begin to heal when we learn how we have caused harm and acknowledge the devastating impact of colonization and take steps toward reconciliation. I live with my life partner Carolyn and our sweet beagle Major in the Willard Beach neighborhood. I love the outdoors, nature and sports. I am a coach for the Maine Mayhem women's football team.
Maintain safe and engaging environments in our schools through the pandemic.
Addressing training and development needs for teachers in our schools to enhance virtual learning experiences for them and the students.
Ensuring budget constraints and repercussions from the pandemic response are effectively managed.
This city means a lot to me. I was born here, raised here, and am now parenting here. I want to do everything I can to ensure it continues to grow and flourish!
I am running for School Board because I believe we need a more transparent and inclusive decision-making process at the School District. The flow of information from the School District to the public needs to improve and the District needs to be more receptive to outside input, so that all stakeholders (teachers, students, parents, residents without kids in the system, businesses, and other community leaders) are involved in a more meaningful way. The School District should connect with, and seek advice from, these stakeholders frequently, rather than only when requesting increased financial support through tax dollars or fundraising campaigns. Greater communication from the School District to the community at-large (not just people with kids in the system) will foster enduring connections between the schools and the communities that support them. Our schools serve and benefit all of South Portland, and all of South Portland should have input in crafting the School District's policies.
I have been involved with South Portland school issues for over a decade, and was the spokesperson and one of the main organizers of RenewSPHS, the citizen group that promoted the high school renovation bond. I am active in the community as a soccer coach, and am involved heavily in local civic activities and issues - often serving in the vital role of general rabble-rouser. I have a (questionably) healthy obsession with soccer; a love of hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, and other outdoor, nature-based activities; and a weakness for chocolate. Luckily, my family shares these interests. My family consists of my amazing, lovely and (mostly) tolerant wife, Julie, two energetic and insanely-talented daughters (they get it from their mother), and duo of high-spirited dogs (one a galumphing hound-like beast, the other a freakish mix of unidentifiable canine breed, race horse, and African honey badger).