Posts Tagged ‘Commissioner of education’


Happy Arts Education Month

March 1, 2021


On Wednesday, February 17 Arts Education Advocacy Day was celebrated during a zoom a plenary session provided by the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) working with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission. All of Maine’s professional arts education organizations leaders are members of ABC and presented along with amazing student voices. I’m sure many of the Maine Arts Education blog readers attended.

Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin, participated in the event and I think her message is a great place to start March – Arts Education Month. I encourage you to share her message with your colleagues (visual and performing arts educators and all others), with parents, school board members and your community members. The archive of the plenary session will be available and provided by MAAE in the very near future.


We (MDOE) value the arts in education extremely highly and perhaps above everything else and here’s why: it’s more than the pragmatic use of the arts to build the architecture, the neural pathways within brains that their engagement in the arts definitely develops, allowing them to better learn and more deeply learn all of their other content. That’s important but it’s not that, it goes beyond the creativity, the self-expression. Even goes beyond the social emotional pieces. It goes beyond the power of the arts which is so critically important at this time above all other times to heal a broken society, to find and create unity in divisiveness. It goes beyond that even. And here’s what I think it is. Arts in education, especially in public education, where every child is supposed to have their very best shot provided for them is critical because it ultimately makes life worth living. The arts make all the other business we do worth doing. It is critical now and always has been but we really need to move forward that we provide equity of opportunity, equity of access, and make sure that all of our arts opportunities are widely available and represent the demographics in the surrounding community.”


Message From the Commissioner of Education

March 24, 2020

Pender Makin


In Today’s News

November 11, 2014

Commissioner of Education, Jim Rier

Maine education commissioner placed on indefinite medical leave

Bangor Daily News, written by Christopher Cousins

AUGUSTA, Maine — Jim Rier, the state’s education commissioner, has been Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 6.45.45 PMplaced on indefinite medical leave, according to Department of Education spokeswoman Samantha Warren.

Warren did not provide details about Rier’s condition, but she said his absence is expected to be temporary and that Rier remains in close contact with department leadership.

In the interim, Gov. Paul LePage has appointed Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome as acting commissioner.

“The commissioner is proud of the progress the department has made under his leadership to advance key student-centered reforms that will better prepare Maine kids for success in their college and career,” said Warren in a written statement. “He and we look forward to him getting back to that important work in the coming weeks.”

Rier of Topsham hails from Washington County, where he was president of his family’s car dealership in Machias, Rier Motors Co., for 25 years.

He also has served on the boards of Bangor Hydro Electric Co. (now Emera Maine), the Maine Community Foundation, the Regional Medical Center at Lubec and the Washington County Educational & Economic Development Alliance.

Rier served two terms on the state Board of Education, including as chairman from 1997 to 2003, before joining the Department of Education as director of finance and operations in 2003.

He became deputy commissioner in 2011 and was nominated by LePage as commissioner in January 2014. Rier’s nomination sailed through the Legislature with no opposition.

Rier has earned respect in Augusta for his professionalism and expertise in state-level public school finance issues, as well as his enthusiasm for the job.

“I simply can’t wait to show up to work every day, and I’ve felt that way ever since I’ve started this,” Rier told the Legislature’s Education Committee in February.

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