2015-10-23 / Front Page

Two up for District 4 school board seat

Two candidates are seeking the District 3 seat on the South Portland Board of Education, previously held by James Gilboy, who resigned earlier this year. Candidate surveys appear here in alphabetical order by last name.

Name: Matthew Perkins

Age: 38

Address: 70 Elderberry Dr.

Phone: 712-1145

Occupation: Traffic director at Strategic Media, Inc.

Family: Married with three children (ages 9, 6 and 4)

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Maine at Orono

Organizations and activities: Mileage Club coordinator at Dyer Elementary School; Head coach for various South Portland American Little League teams

Top three issues:

1. I would like to see later start times for our middle and high schools. Proper rest for teenagers can help fend off depression and obesity, lead to better test scores, and help athletes recover from injuries quicker.

2. I’d like to figure out exactly what needs to be done in regard to Mahoney and Memorial schools. Is a single school building possible? Can it be done while being fiscally responsible to taxpayers? If not, what can we do to ensure the well being of students and staff members in the current buildings?

3. I’m in favor of increasing antibullying programs in the schools. I was bullied constantly as a teenager and it truly soured my high school experience. Especially nowadays with the onset of cyber-bullying, anything we can do to raise awareness and help eliminate these behaviors is vitally important.

Why are you seeking elected office? I don’t have any political experience

but have long thought about running for public office and when the seat in my district opened up it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It is my belief that the board should have more members with elementary-aged children on it. I love being involved in my children’s education and want to make South Portland a destination district for students. My volunteer experiences in the community have been extremely rewarding and I have the time, energy and desire to do even more.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

I would like to see less complaining about problems on social media and more people helping to create solutions. In this electronic age, it can feel like you’re staying involved just by reading a few emails/texts. I believe just the opposite. If we could convince more parents/ citizens to volunteer their time in person at the schools and other activities our community would only get stronger.

Name: Libby Reynolds

Age: 40

Address: 51 Thirlmere Ave.

Occupation: Branch manager/Assistant vice president at Key Bank

Family: Married with two children

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Southern Maine

Organizations and activities: Skillin School PTA (vice president); South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce (vice president); South Portland Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee

Top three issues:

I don’t have an agenda or mission as the reason I am running for school board, so, listing three issues here would be reaching. I am not trying to come in and shake things up by changing policies or traditions. I am interested in being involved in the full process and being an advocate for all of South Portland’s families and taxpayers. I think that we need to have as much information as possible to make decisions that will effect our children’s futures, so, my job would be to listen — listen to the parents, listen to the kids, and listen to the people that pay for the education the city provides.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I want to be involved in my community and I have a strong desire to understand how something goes from an innovative idea to policy and how these things are prioritized. I like that the school board isn’t political, it is all about South Portland’s children and providing them with the best education possible in the best facilities with the best teachers. I have a very open mind about change and new ways of doing things but I want those new things to make sense for South Portland residents.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

I am generally very pleased with South Portland and the responsiveness of the school board members. I think that the one thing I would improve upon is the pre-K program. I know that we offer a pilot pre-K program that has been very successful but it only accommodates 28 kids this year. I would love to make sure all 4-year-olds are ready socially, emotionally, and cognitively to start kindergarten. My oldest son was a very young 5-year-old and I found that my educational options were to stay in daycare another year or start kindergarten. It would have been beneficial to have a readiness program to bridge the gap.

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