Gorham elects three newcomers to school board

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William Benson

William Benson

Dennis Libby

Kate Livingston

Jennifer Whitehead

GORHAM — Three newcomers and one incumbent were elected Tuesday, forming a revamped seven-member School Committee that went right to work Wednesday.

In races for the School Committee, voters Tuesday backed William Benson, Kate Livingston and Jennifer Whitehead for three-year terms and incumbent Dennis Libby for the single-year available seat.

Livingston was the top vote-getter with 2,336 in the five-way contest for three seats. Whitehead had 1,985 supporters and Benson 1,928. They were followed by Michael Lewin with 1,162 and Billie Capozza, 1,056.

Libby won his race, defeating Aaron Carlson, 2,076-1,188.

Benson, 49, a retired Army colonel, said Wednesday he’s looking forward to bringing his experience to the board and working with its members.

“Now, it’s time to go to work,” Benson said. “I’m happy to be part of the process.”

Livingston, 38, is a stay-at-home mother, who previously launched a Facebook page supporting Gorham education. “It was great to see so many voters of so many ages,” Livingston said. “It was nice to see people believe in me and our schools.”

Whitehead, 41, is a stay-at-home mom and a former New York City teacher.  “I’m so excited to serve the town,” Whitehead said shortly after the polls closed. “I’m ready to go.”

Libby, 45, maintenance manager at Woodfords Family Services, said Wednesday he’s starting his 13th year on the School Committee and he congratulated the other winners. “I’m pleased to be back,” Libby said.

Benson, Livingston and Whitehead were all elected in their first run for political office.

The School Committee races developed when member Suzanne Phillips opted to run for the Town Council, Sara Nelson didn’t seek re-election, and Libby chose to run for the vacancy left by the resignation last spring of Tim Burns.

Besides a proposed high school renovation/expansion project, issues facing School Committee members include a potential reconfiguration of elementary school districts that could shuffle some students among buildings to alleviate overcrowding. Later start times for high school and middle school students is also being evaluated.

Rhonda Warren, School Department administrative assistant, will administer the oath of office to the newly elected School Committee members in her office before the committee meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, after the American Journal deadline.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.