John T. Gorman Fellowship

We are pleased to announce the third cohort of our John T. Gorman Fellowship, a program designed for leaders in Maine’s nonprofit, advocacy and government sectors. The Fellowship equips participants to leverage data, partnerships, individual strengths, and organizational authority to develop a way of working that is data-driven, collaborative, and reflective of best practices. Participants work toward becoming results-based leaders with the vision, confidence, and competence to advance changes in programs, policies, and systems that can improve the lives of vulnerable people in Maine.

The Fellowship consists of six two-day seminars, to be held between March and November of this year. In between sessions, the Fellows work independently – and with the help of Foundation staff and consultants, when necessary – to incorporate what they’ve learned into their organizational roles.

The 10 Fellows in this year’s class hail from across Maine and range widely in terms of interests, experiences, and backgrounds. They are unified, however, by their shared commitment the Foundation's mission and values, and each is working in a public system or non-profit organization associated with the Foundation’s investment priorities: improving educational achievement for young children, promoting successful transitions to adulthood for vulnerable older youth, helping struggling parents to support their families, and enabling low-income seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible. The charge to this cohort of participants is to make a measurable difference in the lives of Maine’s people by November of 2020.

2019 Fellowship Cohort

Chris Bicknell

Executive Director, New Beginnings
Along with leading the only agency in Maine focused on serving runaway and homeless youth, New Beginnings, Chris is also a founding member and the current chair of the Maine Homeless Youth Provider Group at the State level. He came to New Beginnings in 2016 from The Opportunity Alliance in Portland, where he served as the Director of Access and Intake. Chris has more than 25 years of experience in the field of human services, including as a consultant, trainer, and presenter working with high-risk youth, restorative justice, youth employment, harm reduction, and trauma-informed care. Chris coordinated Preble Street Teen Services in Portland for more than nine years and was instrumental in the design and opening of their Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter in 2012. A passionate advocate for youth and creativity, Chris has a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy from Lesley University and has served as a volunteer and board member with the Telling Room in Portland since 2012.

Gail Cressey

Director of Intervention Strategy, Portland Public Schools

Gail works for Portland Public Schools as Director of Intervention, where she ensures children in the district receive the necessary services to prevent them from falling through the cracks. She started her career teaching high school math where she felt a profound realization that students are a product of two things: their home life and their school life. Responsibility, therefore, could not fall only on the student for poor behaviors or struggling academic achievements but on the district as well. As the Director of Intervention, Gail ensures the school system provides the necessary support to best care for students in need. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Bates College.

David Dorr

Director, Somerset Career and Technical School

David has spent most of his life fixing things.  As a kid, he worked in his father’s shop repairing small engines.  When he joined the Air Force, he trained to work in an Electronics Lab troubleshooting and repairing electronic test equipment and then automated process control equipment in a paper mill after he left the service.  He later went into education and taught students Pre-Engineering and Robotics at the Sanford Regional Technical Center.  Now as the Director of the CTE School in Skowhegan, David continues to use his troubleshooting background to improve educational opportunities for students.  David graduated from the University of Southern Maine with two Bachelor of Science degrees; Industrial Technology, and Applied Technical Education, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership.  He recently finished his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Advanced Educational Leadership from the University of New England.

Matt Dubel

Executive Director, Portland ConnectEd

As the Executive Director of Portland ConnectEd, Matt works to bring together organizational leaders who are committed to creating an infrastructure and culture that supports Portland’s youth, Portland’s families, and the community at large. Starting Strong is also part of ConnectEd and is focused on the early-age component of ConnectEd’s mission. Matt is a former classroom teacher with wide-ranging experience teaching students from preschool through graduate school.  He has a Master of Education from Antioch University of New England, in Keene, NH. He received his undergraduate degree from Colby College.

Kim Gustafson

Scholarship Director, Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute

Kim works for the Mitchell Institute, an organization founded by Senator George J. Mitchell that is dedicated to strengthening Maine communities by providing Maine students a path to success in college and beyond. She oversees the Mitchell Scholarship application and selection process, and she collaborates with colleagues to support Mitchell Scholars and Alumni wherever they are in their academic, professional, and personal development through a broad array of programs. Kim thrives on facilitating connections between individuals and the resources that best meet their preferences and needs. Prior to joining the Mitchell Institute in 2015, she spent many years with the admission and career development departments at Bates College. Kim graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies and was previously certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator.

Elizabeth (Liz) Neptune

Senior Consultant, Wabanaki Aspirations

Liz is the president of her consulting service, Neptune Advantage,Inc., which provides technical assistance to Native American tribes and nonprofit organizations across the country. For more than 13 years, until 2005, Liz served as Director of Health and Human Services for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township. In that role, she managed the development of health systems and the delivery of healthcare for the Indian Township community. As a consultant, she helps with program development, grant writing, facilitation, and more, primarily for projects related to health services. She also assists with social welfare projects in Washington County. Liz is currently assisting the Community Caring Collaborative with sustainability planning and in the design of a mentoring program for the county. In addition, she is leading Wabanaki Aspirations, an organization that helps tribes, tribal organizations and tribal members achieve their visions and goals to develop economic, educational and social success by building on their own knowledge and needs.  In her work, she spends a significant portion of her time illuminating the inequities facing Native Americans and dispelling negative stereotypes. Liz hopes that advocacy and education will lead to changes that will improve the well-being of native people in Maine and across the country.

Karen Normandin

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment, Kennebec Valley Community College

Karen has served 25 years in many different capacities at Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC). She is an integral part of the President’s executive team and is tasked with making student success the central priority in every college effort, budget, and innovation. KVCC is one of seven community colleges within the Maine Community College System, is located in Fairfield, and offers a range of associate degree and certificate training programs. Karen earned her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Anselm College in Sociology and a received a Master’s degree in Pre-clinical Psychology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Misty Parker

Economic Development Manager, City of Lewiston

As the Economic Development Manager for the City of Lewiston, Misty plays a lead role in attracting development to the City, with a focus on the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown Lewiston and the riverfront. Before becoming Manager, Misty was Lewiston’s Economic Development Specialist for almost four years and was responsible for researching, planning, implementing and promoting a variety of programs and efforts aimed at business attraction and expansion. She also provided support for related community development activities, including grant writing and administration. Misty has been a Town Planner for Wiscasset as well as a Planning and Development Director for Waldoboro. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Maine at Machias and her Master’s degree in Resource Management and Conservation from Antioch University of New England.

Janet Smith

Regional Manager, New Ventures Maine

Janet is the Western Regional Manager and Workforce Development Specialist for New Ventures Maine. She provides training in New Venture Maine’s workforce, asset, and leadership development program areas and supervises staff and programming in Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties. In addition, she developed and coordinates New Venture’s Rainy Day Savings program statewide and is the Program Manager for the CA$H Maine Financial Capability and Asset Building Project. Most recently she adapted the Rainy Day Savings Program for survivors of domestic violence and incarcerated individuals. New Ventures Maine helps Maine people succeed in the changing economy and achieve economic security for themselves and their families. It is a statewide training and economic development program administered through the University of Maine System and co-located on several campuses.  Services are provided in-person and online through nine Resource Centers and several outreach sites throughout all of Maine’s 16 counties and beyond. Janet received her Bachelor’s in Plant Science from the University of Maine at Orono and Master’s of Science in Adult Education from the University of Southern Maine.

Tara Williams

Executive Director, Maine Association for the Education of Young Children

Tara has taught in public school and private programs with children from birth to third grade, beginning in the DC Public Schools and most recently at the Bowdoin College Children’s Center. Tara was a Research Analyst at the National Council on Teacher Quality, has coached and mentored teachers and presented workshops at regional and national conferences, and served on a school board of a public charter school for several years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Boston University and her Masters in Early Childhood Leadership and Administration from Bank Street College.