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Martin and Sandra Bernstein to receive UMFK service award at commencement May 10

May 2, 2003


A married Fort Kent area couple, who have had an indelible impact on education and healthcare in the St. John Valley will be honored with a distinguished service award from the University of Maine at Fort Kent during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 10.

Sandra B. Bernstein, superintendent of schools in the western St. John Valley's Maine School Administrative District 27, and Martin B. Bernstein, chief executive officer of regional healthcare provider Northern Maine Medical Center, will be presented with the honor by UMFK President Richard W. Cost.

The distinguished service award is bestowed annually at the university's commencement, to a deserving recipient or recipients who have rendered service to the campus, community, St. John Valley, Aroostook County, and State of Maine.

Sandra Bernstein has been superintendent of schools at MSAD 27 since 1994. Prior to assuming those duties, she was director of student services in the Fort Kent area school system for nearly a decade, and before that a district speech clinician for two years.

From 1970 through 1986, Sandra Bernstein served as a speech clinician in her own private practice for various individuals and agencies. Before starting her own business, she was assistant dean of students at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, New York for two years.

She is currently a candidate for a certificate of advanced studies in educational leadership through the University of Southern Maine, and holds a master of science degree in educational administration from USM.

Sandra Bernstein is actively involved in a number of local and regional organizations. She is a past president and serves on the board of trustees of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, is chair of the Northern Maine Community College advisory committee, and vice president of the school consortium ECO 2000. She also serves on the UMFK teacher education council, board of directors of the Maine Development Foundation, and is active on the Aroostook County, Maine and national superintendent associations.

In 1998, Sandra Bernstein was awarded the Commissioner's Award for Leadership in Implementing Learning Results, by then Commissioner of Education J. Duke Albanese. She has also been recognized by the national Department of Education for exemplary systematic educational reform.

Martin Bernstein has been CEO at NMMC for 20 years. He has been in the field of healthcare administration for 33 years.

Prior to heading the St. John Valley hospital, Martin Bernstein held administrative positions at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, New York; St. Mary's General Hospital in Lewiston, Maine; and R.T. Jones Memorial Hospital in Canton, Georgia.

He also served four years as a field consultant with the American Hospital Association in the hospital administrative services program.

Martin Bernstein is a Diplomate in the American College of Health Care Executives.

He received his master's degree in healthcare administration from Georgia State University in 1970 and his baccalaureate degree from the State University of New York Buffalo campus in 1967.

The hospital CEO is very involved in his local community and in numerous professional organizations, including service in the Fort Kent Rotary Club, as an active member and past president, as chair of the UMFK nursing advisory council and as a board director of the Maine Hospital Association.

Martin Bernstein served on a Blue Ribbon Commission established by former Maine Governor John McKernan to examine what type of healthcare regulation was necessary in the state and on regional boards of national organizations, including the American Red Cross and American Cancer Society.

"Sandy and Marty are a wonderful couple who together provide extraordinary leadership to our public education and healthcare organizations here in the Valley. I doubt that there is a single family in this region that has not been impacted positively by one or the other of these two. We are fortunate indeed to have the Bernsteins here in Fort Kent, and UMFK is delighted to recognize the many contributions they make," said UMFK President Richard Cost.

Presenting the distinguished service award to Martin and Sandra Bernstein will mark only the second time since the honor was first bestowed in 1973 that a married couple is awarded. In 1990, Fort Kent couple Bernice and Ludger Michaud were presented with the honor.

Other past recipients include Congressman Michael Michaud, former State Senator Judy Paradis, State Senator John Martin, community leaders Norman Fournier and Rose Nadeau, former Governor John McKernan, retired educator Paul Bouchard, Fort Kent entrepreneur Carl Theriault, and Franco-American cultural advocate Marc Chasse who received the award last year.