The Maine State Board of Education consists of nine members appointed by the Governor. Four must live in Maine's First Congressional District when appointed, four must live in the Second Congressional District, and one can live in either Congressional District. Board members serve staggered, five-year terms.

The Board elects a Chair and Vice Chair annually.

The State Board also has two nonvoting student members appointed by the Governor. At all times, the Board has one high school junior and one high school senior. One student attends a school in the First Congressional District; the other attends a school in the Second Congressional District. Student members serve two-year terms. More on student members.

The State Board of Education has four standing committees. Board members also serve on outside boards, commissions and other bodies.

Fern M.Y. Desjardins, Chair

Fern M.Y. Desjardins, Chair is a resident of St. Agatha.  Fern had a 43-year career in PK-12 education as an elementary school teacher, principal, and Superintendent of Schools in the rural, small school system of MSAD 33.  During her principalship, Dr. Levesque Elementary School was designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.  Fern is a life-long learner who holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Language Arts from UMaine, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from USM, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UMFK. She has taught graduate level courses for UMaine as an adjunct faculty member in their outreach programs in Aroostook County, served on UMFK’s Board of Visitors (one year as President and two as Vice President), Northern Maine Medical Center's (NMMC) Board of Trustees, and she has been an active member of numerous educational associations and committees.  After her retirement, Fern worked as a facilitator for school systems and served on various committees and special projects of the Maine Department of Education.  She was appointed to the State Board of Education in 2018 and to the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Board of Directors in 2019 where she currently serves as secretary/treasurer.  She volunteers at her local church, parish, and at the diocese level.  Fern and her husband, Francis, have three grown children and four grandchildren.  

185 Main Street
St. Agatha, ME 04772
Home: 207-543-6005
Seat #03
Term Ends: 2028

Board Committees: Legislative Action, School Construction (Chair), Board Effectiveness - Ad Hoc

Paulette Bonneau, Vice Chair

Paulette Bonneau, Vice Chair is a resident of Biddeford.  She attended Stonehill College and received her bachelor's degree in Psychology.  Upon graduating, Paulette became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker focusing on Mental Health and Substance abuse.  At the same time, Paulette worked as a School Social Worker at the John F. Kennedy School supporting students and their families from grades 3-5.  In 2004, Paulette was awarded her master's in Social Work from the University of Michigan and in 2006 received a Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership/Administration from the University of Southern Maine.  She currently holds a position as the Director of the Biddeford Regional Technical Center of Technology.  Paulette currently serves as Vice Chair of the State Board of Education.

77 Granite Street
Biddeford, ME 04005
Home: 207-229-4433
Seat #07

Term Ends: 2026

Board Committees: Legislative Action (Chair), Career and Technical Education, Board Effectiveness - Ad Hoc

Wendy L. Ault

Wendy L. Ault is a resident of Wayne.  She is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  Wendy served as the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Maine at Farmington for seventeen years.  During her tenure at UMF, she was elected to four terms in the Maine House of Representatives representing part of Kennebec County from 1988 through 1996.  She served all eight years as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, serving as its House Chair during her final term.  Wendy is the Executive Director of the MELMAC Education Foundation.  

26 Pond Road
Wayne, ME 04284
Phone: 207-557-4987
Seat #02
Term Ends: 2028

Board Committees: Career and Technical Education, Student Voices (Co-Chair), Board Effectiveness - Ad Hoc

Kristin K. Bishop

Kristin K. Bishop is a resident of Madison.  She is a graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine where she studied Education and Government and Legal Studies.  She also attended Thomas College in Waterville, Maine and completed her MBA.  Kristin holds a lifelong dedication to public service and community engagement and has been involved with numerous higher education, service, and civic organizations.  Kristin works in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine where she supports graduate students, undergraduate students, and employer partners.  Prior to joining the staff at Thomas, she worked in the Office of  Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships at Colby College in Waterville, Maine where she supported partnership development and the creation of student civic learning opportunities with area nonprofit and community organizations. Kristin previously served on the Maine State Board of Education as a Student Representative. 

21 Young Street
Madison, ME 04950
Cell: 207-399-5343
Seat #04
Term Ends: 2027

Board Committees: School Construction, Student Membership

James E. Ford

James E. Ford is a resident of Brunswick. He is the Restorative Practices Coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools. James has taught in Brunswick, Auburn and Portland before joining Lewiston Public Schools in 2018.  He's a former Board member of Breakwater School; Abyssinian Meeting House, which is the 3rd oldest African American meeting house in the United States; Curtis Memorial Library; Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program; and he once served on the vestry at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  Mr. Ford holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Additionally, he earned a master's degree in special education from the University of Southern Maine in Portland.  James is a former teacher and is skilled in Lesson Planning, Teaching English as a Second Language, Classroom Management, Volunteer Management, and Differentiated Instruction.  James has lived in Maine for 40 years and is a Black male who can trace his lineage to the middle passage and an owner of land in Georgia where his ancestors were once slaves.  He lives in Brunswick, Maine with his wife. He has two sons and nine grandchildren who keeps him smiling. James loves taking walks and having good conversations. Coffee/tea and a happy, mindful discussion.

23 Boody Street
Brunswick, ME  04011
Home: 207-841-9377
Seat #05

Term Ends: 2026

Board Committees: Student Voices (Co-Chair)
Outside Membership: Maine Charter School Commission

Thomas E. (Tom) Keller

Thomas E. (Tom) Keller is a resident of Newcastle.  Tom has worked in education for over three decades.  He was a Senior Research Scientist at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in Augusta, Maine, as well as director of the Reach Center project on science out-of-school learning from 2011 until 2019.  He has been the Principal Investigator on several National Science Foundation grants.  Tom was a Senior Program Officer with the National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education where he co-directed development of A Framework for K-12 Science Education, which led to development of the Next Generation Science Standards.  In addition, he held several positions in K-12 education in Maine, including being a high school science teacher, a director of instruction, and eighteen years as State Science Supervisor for the Maine Department of Education.  During his time with the Department, he was a Co-Principal Investigator on a project that created the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.  Tom served as president of the National Council of State Science Supervisors, was a founder and the first president of the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association, and a founder and the first president of the Computer Science Teacher Association Maine chapter.  Currently, he is a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Maine at Augusta, the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association, Council of State Science Supervisors, and the Maine Science Teachers Association.  Tom has an Ed.D. in science education from the University of Massachusetts and a B.S. in zoology from Texas A&M University.    

208 N Newcastle Road
Newcastle, ME  04553

Cell: 207-350-6106
Seat #06
Term Ends: 2027

Board Committees: Certification and Higher Education (Chair), Legislative Action
Outside Membership: Maine Charter School Commission

Victoria P. Kornfield

Victoria P. Kornfield is a resident of Bangor.  Tori served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives, representing part of Bangor.  She was the House chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee for three of the four terms she served on the committee.  A lifelong educator, she taught for 37 years, 30 of which were at Bangor High School.  Tori has a master's degree in teaching and a certificate of advanced study in educational administration.  She has traveled extensively, including a trip around the world by ship.  She has been out with Maine game wardens to tag bears in their winter dens and on the red carpet at the Academy Awards.  Tori feels extremely lucky to retire from a profession she loved and then to immediately begin a new career in the legislature which she found very interesting and stimulating.  After being termed out of the legislature, she was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Mills.  Tori has two daughters and four grandchildren.  Her late husband was a professor at the University of Maine.

48 Madison Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Home: 207-907-9491
Seat #01
Term Ends: 2026

Board Committees: Legislative Action, Certification and Higher Education, Board Effectiveness - Ad Hoc
Outside Membership: Maine Charter School Commission


Edmond W. Morin

Edmond Morin is a Maine native who graduated from Mt. Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine Orono where he received his BA in speech with a broadcast concentration.  It was during that time he first became involved with public broadcasting.  He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and did volunteer work for MPBN radio.  After doing post-graduate work at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Ed accepted a full-time job in 1979 with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and was with the company until his retirement in 2020.  For much of his career Ed worked as a news reporter, host and anchor.  In addition, he produced a number of TV arts and public affairs programs as well as many radio arts and music programs.  Over the course of his time in public media, he reported on many education issues.   For many years, Ed taught broadcast oriented courses at Saint Joseph's College in Standish.  After living in Portland for some 40 years, Ed and his wife moved to Westbrook.  They have four adult sons and six grandchildren.

1C Royal Grant Way
Westbrook, ME  04092
Home: 207-749-8088
Seat #08
Term Ends: 2026

Board Committees:  Student Membership (Chair), School Construction, Career and Technical Education (Chair), Legislative Action

Dr. Denham Ward

Denham S Ward, MD, PhD is a resident of Bowdoinham.  After receiving his BS(EE) at the University of Maine, he left the state to get his PhD in Systems Science at UCLA.  Becoming interested in physiology, he then went to the University of Miami (FL) to obtain his MD.  Following his residency in Anesthesiology, he started his career in academic medicine at UCLA.  Besides his clinical and research interests, he has been heavily involved in medical education, serving as residency program director at UCLA and then as the chair of Anesthesiology at the University of Rochester.  While at the University of Rochester he was President of the Association of Anesthesiology Program Directors.  With a major interest in how medical school faculty teach, he became the Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Rochester and was instrumental in developing a Masters Degree in Health Professions Education.  After retiring clinically, he moved back to Maine.  He was President and CEO of the Foundation for Anesthesiology Education and Research which gave grants to improve clinical teaching in Anesthesiology.  He has been involved with education at Maine Medical Center, helping to start the Academy at the Maine Health Institute for Teaching Excellence.  He has continued his association with the University of Maine, currently serving on the Honors College Board of Advocates.  His daughter is a physician at Maine Medical Center.

PO Box 307
Bowdoinham, ME  04008
Home: 207-666-3303
Seat #09
Term Ends: 2028

Board Committees:  Certification and Higher Education, Professional Standards Board

Ryan Hafener (Student)

Ryan Hafener is a student at Hampden Academy.  He was appointed to the Board by the Governor in May of 2022 and has served in his position since June of 2022.  He previously interned in legislative affairs for a state education agency.  Ryan is passionate about creating long-lasting, impactful policy change for students while involving youth-voice in the process.  As a part of his role, he co-chairs the Maine Department of Education's Student Cabinet, which he helped to transition to a student-led model in 2022.  In 2023, he participated in a climate policy intensive run by the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, focused on climate workforce development.  In his policy research and reporting, Ryan chose to focus on career and technical education as a vessel to advance high-paying, high-quality 'green' jobs for Mainers.  Ryan is the president of the Hampden Academy Student Council and serves as a student representative on the RSU 22 School Board.  Ryan is a member of the National Honor Society and serves on the GLSEN National Student Council.  In 2022 and 2023, he attended the leadership and peacebuilding camp Seeds of Peace, which he credits as a life-changing experience.

3 Deer Hill Lane
Hampden, ME  04444
Home: 207-245-5019
Seat #10
Term Ends: 2024

Board Committees: Student Voices, Student Membership
Outside Membership: Commissioner's Student Cabinet

Phat Thai (Student)

Phat Thai is a student at Deering High School.  He was appointed to the Board by the Governor in May of 2023.  Phat is active in multiple extracurricular activities, including Deering High School's Student Council, Model UN Club, Natural Helpers, Seeds of Peace Club, and Tennis Team.  Phat is an honors and AP student who consistently challenges himself with difficult courses.  During his sophomore year, he took classes designed for college students at USM.  Phat has also demonstrated numerous qualities of leadership by starting a club within his school known as the Asian Student Union, along with leading a school mural project, all with the goal of further connecting the community at his school.  Phat will undoubtedly be an asset in brining student voice to the State Board.


79 Bailey Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
Home: 207-807-7085
Seat #11
Term Ends: 2025

Board Committees: Student Voices
Outside Membership: Commissioner's Student Cabinet