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.
Lillian Doughty B.S., L.S.W, A.C.R.E
Lillian Doughty joined Maine Medical Center’s Department of Vocational Services as Operations Manager in October 2019. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services and in Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Lillian is a licensed social worker with over 37 years in working in a variety of non-profit organizations servicing people with disabilities. Lillian has been instrumental in the development of new program initiatives and resources for Maine people with Parkinson’s disease, chronic disease self-management and in supportive employment services. Lillian also serves on the board of directors at Portland Mentoring Program and a long standing corporate board member of Sweetser of Saco and honorary board member of the Maine Parkinson Society.
Nicholas Gannon is the director at the Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta. Prior to working at CATC , Nicholas was principal at Richmond Middle/High School, part of RSU #2, and principal, assistant principal/athletic director, and math teacher at Lisbon High School in Lisbon Falls, ME. Nicholas’s current work at CATC focuses on workforce development through program creation/expansion to meet the current labor needs and educating communities on the amazing opportunities for students at CATC. Through this work he hopes to help students find and be engaged in school programs that are of high interest and that lead to jobs that are satisfying in high skill/high wage industries. Nicholas's work in Richmond focused on establishing learner agency and structural supports for personalized learning in a proficiency based teaching and learning system. He has presented at state and national conferences as part of a team of RSU #2 representatives. Nicholas' personal education interests include Career and Technical Education, alternative pathways to graduation, and school culture improvement through cultivating hope in all learners. Nicholas holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brandeis University, completed course work for education certifications at Salem State College, and holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from New England College. He lives in Sabattus with his wife Lindsay, children Helen (5) and Wallace (3), and four cats.
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.
Gayla LaBreck has had educational experiences as a teacher in several school districts including Sidney, Augusta and Chelsea, Principal in South China, Literacy Specialist at Chelsea School from 1990 until 2000 and Curriculum Director in Winslow, Vassalboro and China when they were part of Union 52. In 1996 she left Chelsea for one year to work at the DOE as a Distinguished Education. She holds a M.ED as a K-12 Literacy Specialist and a C.A.S in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine. She is currently an Educational Consultant (G & P Enterprises, Inc.) and most of her present work entails working with public school systems throughout the State of Maine offering professional development for teachers in best practices in literacy instruction. She was a member of the Maine Curriculum Leaders’ Association Board (MCLA) for six years between 2011-2017. She has also worked with the Maine Content Literacy Project (MCLP) as a literacy coach in the Western Maine Partnership for the duration of the grant, which ended in 2014. As an associate professor at Thomas College since 2007, she has taught in both of the Bachelors of Education and the Masters of Science of Education Programs. Most recently, she spent four years with a grant process Developing and Supporting Assessment Practices (DSAP) in Central Maine as Thomas College acted as one of their partners in the assessment process. She has also joined University of Maine at Farmington adjunct faculty as part of their Outreach Graduate Program offering a Literacy Concentration to those obtaining their Master of Education Degree.
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.
Jean Roesner, Treasurer
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.
Corda Ladd Kinzie , MEd
Corda is a trained Co-Active Life Coach, master’s level Regular/Special Educator, and visual artist who is currently exploring materials, mediums and techniques. She is also the co-founder of Celebratory Learning and a facilitator/designer for workshops, retreats, team building and professional development in many areas and topics. Corda's passion is learning and teaching and Organizational Development. She has worked in Maine education for 40+ years as a Special Educator and Professional Development Facilitator. She recently worked for GEAR UP Maine at Syntiro as an Educational Strategist. Corda is noted for her warmth, humor, and engaging presentation style. Her passions include time with family, learning, reading, creating, and listening to Loons.