Debbie Gilmer, President
is the President of Syntiro and the Project Director of the Employment for ME Workforce Development System funded by Maine DHHS and VR to certify, support, teach and mentor Employment Specialists across the state. She directed Maine HEP program, a statewide high school equivalency program serving migrant and seasonal farm workers. She previously served as the co-director of the Healthy & Ready to Work National Resource Center funded by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau as well as the 2005 Maine State GEAR UP program funded by the US Department of Education’s Office of Post- Secondary Education as well as Associate Director and Acting Director of the University of Maine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies. She has served as a special education teacher, transition coordinator and directed Maine’s statewide inclusive schools project, LEARNS. She served as co-state lead of Maine’s US DOL Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program and was a founding member of the Employment First Maine Coalition. She served as a board member of Disability Rights Maine, the Maine Department of Education’s Consensus Based Rule Making Panel on Restraint and Seclusion, past president of Maine APSE and currently serves on the national APSE public policy committee. She has provided technical assistance and consultation to the Think College National Resource Center and served on their Advisory Committee. She has conducted technical assistance and training on transition and employment across the country for many years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Maine.
Emma Irish is presently serving as a College Counselor at Lee Academy. She has been employed in the education field since 1998, working first in Special Education then finding her niche as Gear Up Liaison assisting students with postsecondary awareness and college readiness. It is her ultimate goal to see that all students have the utmost chance for postsecondary success regardless of financial, or cultural barriers. Residing in Topsfield with her family, Emma loves spending time in the out of doors hiking, and fly fishing.
Shelley Reed is the current Chair of the Maine Charter School Commission. MCSC is charged through legislation with the authorizing and oversight of up to 10 public charter schools including any virtual charter schools in Maine. She is also affiliated with the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine developing trainings to support the work of communities initiating restorative practices. Working in the career of education for 38 years Shelley retired from the Department of Education in 2011 as the consultant for Truancy, Dropout, Alternative Education, and Homeless Youth. This work with students-at-risk led to membership on Keeping Maine’s Children Connected, Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, Shared Youth Vision Council, multiple task forces, and preparation of legislation on behalf of Maine's youth. Previous to DOE experience Shelley taught first and second grade in Auburn and was an elementary school counselor in Lewiston. She enjoys kayaking, gardening, the beach, and diving into a good book. Wayne is home to her and husband David. Her three grown children reside in Vermont, Uganda, and Taiwan.
When you ask Jean Roesner what she teaches, her automatic response is kids. After 16 years of teaching at Maranacook Community High School, Jean commits herself to doing what is best for her students each and every day. The best part of Jean's job is being an advisor, where she can help kids learn more about themselves and their post secondary dreams through relationship building, conversation, and encouragement. Jean wouldn't tell you herself, but she was invited to the Governor's Academy for STEM education, presented at the National Science Teacher's Annual Conference on Education, and has developed innovative ways for teachers to collaborate in order to improve practice within RSU 38. Jean has also served on the College Access Team at RSU 38 and has worked with Maine College Circle to increase post secondary planning awareness for district students grades 5-8. Jean currently resides with her family in Readfield, Maine. She enjoys finding ways to support work within her community, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Lillian Scenna is a Program Manager at Pine Tree Society - an organization helping Maine people with disabilities live fuller, more socially connected lives. Lillian joined Pine Tree Society in 2014 and has been instrumental in the development of new program initiatives. She now provides leadership and oversight of Pine Tree Society’s Career Development Department offering a full spectrum of services ranging from pre-employment; soft skills training for young adults with Autism, career exploration, discovery, trial work experiences to career development and supportive employment services for people with disabilities. Lillian is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified in Supportive Employment with over 30 years in working with people with disabilities. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services from the University of Massachusetts and moved to Portland Maine to raise her three children, one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum. She is an honorary board member of the Maine Parkinson Society and serves as a corporate board member of Sweetser of Saco.
Rick Wilson, Treasurer
Rick Wilson joined Syntiro in 2010 as Operations Coordinator after 33 years in public education as both a teacher and administrator. Rick left this position in July of 2015. Rick was Principal at Manchester Elementary School from 1992-2010. Rick was also an active member of the Maine Principals' Association and served as chair of the association's Professional Development Committee from 2005-2009. Prior to his years in administration, Rick was a K-8 music specialist in Union 42 (Manchester, Mt. Vernon, Readfield and Wayne). He holds a Mus. B from Boston University and an M.ED. from the University of Maine.
Rick's interests and expertise include teacher training and development, educational leadership, team building and school climate.