About the Board of Directors
The school is independent, non-profit, tax-exempt and is governed by a board of directors with a wide range of business, legal and educational experience. Over 50 percent of the Board members are active attenders and members of a Quaker meeting.
Members of the Board
Lyn Ballou went to public schools in suburban Philadelphia through 8th grade, then on to George School--a Friends school--for four fabulous years. After Middlebury College and living in Vermont, she and husband Peter moved to Maine, where each went to law school and eventually practiced. While raising Will and Carla, she volunteered for years in the Freeport schools. The world of education became more intriguing than the halls of justice so she entered the ETEP program at USM. She is now in her 14th year of teaching high school French at Mt. Ararat in Topsham, and grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the Friends School of Portland. Lyn is a member of Portland Friends Meeting, a practicing Quaker for over 60 years.
Deqa Dhalac is a parent of an alumna of Friends School. Deqa is a passionate advocate for the immigrant community with extensive experience in social services, public health, and with Survivors of Torture. She currently works for The Opportunity Alliance as a community builder. She also works with The Center for Grieving Children as the Intercultural Program Manager. Deqa is the board vice president for the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and serves on numerous other boards and advisory boards in both the private and government sectors. Deqa has a Master’s Degree in Development Policy and Practice from University of New Hampshire and an MSW from University of New England. She is a certified language tester and cultural skill trainer and has been providing broad mediation for patients/clients in different settings with service providers to ensure they get their needs met. Deqa's daughter, Saharla, graduated from FSP in 2014. While at Deering High School, Saharla served as a school rep for the Portland Public Schools School Board.
Andrew Dixon is an FSP alumni parent (Seth graduated in 2018). As a neighbor of Mackworth Island, Andy has watched FSP from its inception. He attended Peck School in Morristown NJ from 4th to 8th grade, and understands the importance of early and middle school education as a building block. Andy regularly sees the benefits of Seth attending a school with a "culture of joyful learning." As a resident of the Portland area since 1984, Andy has volunteered with wonderful local organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Preble Street and the Center for Grieving Children. A graduate of Cornell University, Andy works as an Account Manager for Systems Engineering in Portland. His wife, JB Kavaliauskas, is a long-time high school educator currently working at South Portland High School. Seth and Andy are avid flyers of remote control airplanes and multi quads.
James Grumbach (recording secretary) taught art and math in public and independent schools before becoming Head of Friends School of Portland from 2007-2012. His introduction to Quaker education came at George School, a boarding school in Newtown, PA, where he lived for nearly 30 years. In his tenure there, he spent 14 years in the Dean of Students office before returning to full-time teaching and coaching. James and his wife, Pamela, an artist, now spend their retirement between Vinalhaven and Portland, spending time with their 4 children, their spouses, and 9 grandchildren. James spends part of his time in Vinalhaven working with a commercial scallop and urchin diver in the winter, and servicing moorings and floats in the warmer months.
Eben Jose is an investment strategist and analyst at Spinnaker Trust, Eben brings a financial perspective to the FSP board and its Development Committee. Eben came to us through the Lift360 Emerging Leaders Program in 2016. He is also a mentor with Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine Clean Tech, tasked with advising startups on business plan development. Eben graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Boston College. He and his wife and young son, Ebbe, make their home in Freeport.
Sharon McDonnell is a member of Portland Friends Meeting and joined the Friends School board in 2018. She is a Public Health physician and epidemiologist and worked for many years overseas with non-governmental organizations, the US CDC, and the World Health Organization. She consults on refugee and disaster response and emerging infectious diseases. She was on the faculty of Dartmouth College and Geisel Medical school until 2015. Currently, she teaches public health as an adjunct professor with University of New Hampshire. Prior to her move to New England she was a member of the Atlanta Georgia Friends Meeting and her son attended the Atlanta Friends School. She lives in Yarmouth on the Royal River with her family including a flock of chickens, a Quarter horse, and two cats.
Doug McCown, former Clerk of the Board, has been Director of Finance and HR at Pendle Hill, Board Clerk and Treasurer of ProNica, and a member of Southeastern Yearly Meeting before joining New England Yearly Meeting, and Portland Friends Monthly Meeting. He and his wife are on committees and on the General Committee of Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C. One of their daughters has attended a Quaker boarding school. Doug is a former psychologist, hotelier and consultant, his wife Becky has been a lawyer with the ACLU.
Rob Ravenelle joined the FSP Board in August 2015 and serves as the Treasurer and Clerk of the Finance Committee. He practices law at Pierce Atwood LLP and is also a certified public accountant. Rob has long understood the value of education and was pleased to become a direct advocate of education through the FSP Board seat. He has almost 30 years of non-profit board experience with numerous agencies and groups in the Greater Portland area including as past chair and continuing board member of Preble Street. Rob earned degrees from Bates College, the University of Maine School of Law and Boston University School of Law (tax degree). Although he grew up in Rhode Island, once he came to Maine, he never left. He lives in Portland with his wife Beth.
Kirk Read is a member of Portland Friends Meeting and has served on the board since July of 2016. He serves on the Governance Committee of the board. Kirk is a professor French and Francophone Studies at Bates College. He began his teaching career at Wilmington Friends School in Delaware where he taught in the middle and upper schools for four years.
Sam Solish is a high school graduate of Brooklyn Friends School (1975) and has served on the Board of Friends School of Portland for over a decade. He is member of Portland Friends Meeting. Both Sam and his wife Jo have a strong belief that Quaker based elementary and middle school education provide children with important tools for future success. Sam Solish is a physician and practices ophthalmology in Portland.
Lise Wagner is the Clerk of our Board. Lise joined the FSP Board in August 2015. Her son Doug was one of FSP's first students, and is now a proud graduate.
Jason Wentworth grew up on an organic farm in Arundel, Maine. He attended the School Around Us, Waynflete School and the University of Southern Maine, where he received a degree in political science. Jason has had a varied career, serving in the Maine House of Representatives, directing an alternative transportation non-profit, working as the Environmental Coordinator at Bates College and owning and operating an eco-laundry business. After 15 years in the world of dirty laundry, Jason and his wife Sandrine recently closed their business to focus on new interests. Jason presently works as a carpenter to pay the bills, but is trying to develop a new career combining standup comedy with climate change activism. Jason and Sandrine are the parents of Lucy who has been at FSP since Kindergarten and is now in the 6th grade.