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State Education Commissioner to speak at UMFK for Fort Kent Chamber Dinner

December 31, 2004

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Maine Education Commissioner Susan Gendron will be the featured speaker at the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner that will be held on Thursday, January 27, in the SportsCenter on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus, beginning with a social at 5:30 p.m.

Gendron, who was tapped by Governor John Baldacci to lead the state's Department of Education when he was elected in 2002, will address the membership of the chamber at their 57th annual dinner.

Maine's top education official was asked to speak at the event by chamber leaders because of the recognized importance of education to the Fort Kent region.

The Greater Fort Kent Area is home to both the University of Maine at Fort Kent, one of seven University of Maine System campuses, and Maine School Administrative District 27, the largest school unit in the St. John Valley.

Over the past two years SAD 27 has partnered with UMFK in a new initiative called the "Great Maine Schools Project", which has drawn the praise of Gendron and the State Department of Education.

Among other topics in education, Gendron is expected to speak about the success of the local Fort Kent project.

"Great Maine Schools" is a five-year effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to stimulate and support the improvement of all Maine secondary schools based upon the "Core Principles of Promising Futures: A Call to Improve Learning for Maine's Secondary Students", a report published by the Maine Commission on Secondary Education.

The goal is to create environments for personalized learning for all Maine students and to prepare all students for success in college, the workforce, and their communities.

UMFK has been brought in as a partner in the SAD 27 project specifically to address the component that deals with college readiness and success.

Gendron was sworn into office by Governor Baldacci, on March 13, 2003 after review by the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and confirmation by the Maine Senate.

She hails from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, where she attended public schools before heading to Gorham, Maine and the University of Southern Maine, graduating in 1973.

Commissioner Gendron's professional career in education spans 30 years, including her prior, long-standing position as superintendent of schools for the Windham School Department, a suburb of Portland, Maine.

As an educator, Gendron has served in a variety of other roles including kindergarten teacher, teaching assistant principal, primary school principal, and acting superintendent. In addition to her service in the Windham School Department, she was a coordinator of instruction, director of learning, and assistant superintendent in the Scarborough Public Schools in Scarborough, Maine.

Gendron received a baccalaureate degree (B.S.) from the University of Southern Maine, completing a double major in elementary and secondary education. Her graduate study at the University of Southern Maine included a master in educational administration.

She holds several appointments and has been active in giving service to numerous boards and commissions at the local, state, and national levels.

Over the years, Gendron has received many honors including the Maine School Superintendents' Distinguished Educator Award, 2001 and the Superintendent of the Year Award, 2002. Commissioner Gendron has been active with the Maine School Superintendents' Association, holding various positions including president-elect.

Tickets for the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner are $15 each and can be purchased directly through the chamber office by calling (207) 834-5354.