BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Janna Townsend – President/Chairman
Academic Excellence, Marketing & Fundraising, Finance, and Governance & Policy Committees
Janna Townsend is an educator with 40 years of experience. She taught children in the classroom, and instructed teachers on the strategies of teaching and learning by modeling them in a classroom setting. Always interested in teaching struggling learners, she began as an art teacher, using a blackboard and colored chalk as a major teaching tool. Janna became a specialist in ‘learning abilities’ and mediation, which helped her to build collaborative educational settings where general and special educational students are taught together. A teaching model mandated by law, also 40 years old.
Building inclusive programs in NYC elementary and middle schools, she provided professional development training and taught college courses on collaborative team teaching, cooperative learning, behavior management and peer mediation. Janna developed a Principal’s Academy, where school principals were required to learn key concepts of collaborative education and how to support its use prior to embracing the techniques within their schools. This action led the way to delivering direct support to northern district schools to create team teaching classrooms that strategically and effectively taught students with special needs alongside their general ed peers.
Presently retired, Janna now lives in Maine where she and her family have been vacationing for over 30 years. Here, she became involved in her community, offering her time and skills to numerous community efforts. Janna tutors and directs programs for Literacy Volunteers –Waterville Area, where she sits as President of the Board of Directors. With an eye on those with special needs, Janna also sits on the Maine Arts Advisory Board, and serves as Treasurer of Friends of Messalonskee, where she is committed to creating a LakeSmart community and fiddling in her garden.
Carl Steidel – Vice-President/Chairman
Associate Dean of Students for Student Support and Community Standards, Bates College
Carl Steidel serves as the Associate Dean of Students for Student Support and Community Standards at Bates College in Lewiston, ME. In this role, Carl collaboratively develops programs that support students in all aspects of their college lives, and that connect the college’s academic and co-curricular missions. He also oversees the community-standards and conflict-resolution processes that, while considering student development and community interests, address violations of the Bates Code of Student Conduct. He is coordinator of the Bates Intervention Team and a member of the Title IX Team.
Carl is a member of the Maine Music Society Chorale and Chamber Singers and also sings with local acapella group, Vocal Solution. He is actively involved as a member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Lewiston, serving as Treasurer for the Trustees and as a member of the Finance Committee.
Carl received his undergraduate degree in music education from Susquehanna University and has a master’s degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, he worked in residence life at Elmira College and in the West Campus House System at Cornell University. He came to Bates in July 2011.
Academic Excellence Chair, Finance Committee
Sherry Gilbert is a graduate of the Northern Conservatory of Music with advance study at Hartt School of Music. She is certified by the Voice Care Network and studied Early Childhood Music Education with Dr. John Feierabend. She is a past member of the Maine Education Association (MEA), National Education Association (NEA), Music Educators National Conference, Maine Music Educators Association, and American Choral Directors Association. She taught K-12 vocal, general and instrumental music in the public schools for 38 years. She has taught in both New York and Maine with select groups performing internationally, for State music organizations, regional venues, and on local and national television. One of her select groups was the first a cappella group to open the Maine State Legislative Session. Many of her students have attended the Western Maine Music Festival, Kennebec Valley Music Festival, District IV Music Festival, All State Music Festival, and All Eastern Music Festival. Her leadership experience covers a number of other areas. She chaired the Maine Music Educators Association District IV for over 8 years; also for more than 12 years she was active in her local association in grievance arbitration and bargaining. She continued to serve her local association as president for 7 years. Under her leadership her association received the MEA’s John H. Marvin award for leadership, integrity, and tenacity and was recognized by NEA president, at the time, Reg Weaver. Sherry is active as a church organist and choir director and has served on the church Parish Council for 5 years. She is on the Oakland Budget & Advisory Committee and has been diligent for citizens in the local area by urging a more in-depth oversight for the RSU 18 school budget.
Government & Policy Committee
Mike Thorne is an advocate, mentor, and consultant for small businesses, non-profits, and people who are interested in providing access and resources to underserved communities. His company Ask Inside, LLC specializes in community development, environmental advocacy, and business/economic development. His personal passion is helping people and organizations amplify their missions and finds innovative solutions to seemingly intractable challenges related to these topics.
After serving 20+ years as a senior executive and/or President with organizations like Yankee Candle, Russell Athletic, and Easton Diamond Sports he stepped off the corporate stage. Mike is focused on helping our future leaders through the
Arts/Sports/Culinary, especially our youth in Maine. Finding innovators to work with on this area is what makes Ask Inside, LLC unique.
He is a former college athlete, current triathlete, and resident of Saco Maine. He serves on the board of the National Council for Adoption and is their Vice Chairman of the Foster Care committee. Mike is also a Score.org Certified mentor for small businesses and non-profits and is married to his best friend Maggie and has 3 adult daughters (1 Special Ed teacher, 1 social worker, and 1 pre-school teacher).
Executive Vice President for Vitsab International AB, Malmö, Sweden
Jeffrey Desrosiers is Executive Vice President for Swedish base Vitsab International AB where he manages business operations globally. Since Jeff was charged with worldwide growth for the research and development firm Vitsab, they quickly emerged as a comprehensive resource for regulation authorities and industry alike. Committed to working hand in hand with regulators to develop time/temperature shipping requirements for perishable items, Jeff enlists the help of private businesses to ensure regulation not only enhances public safety but is also achievable by industry. Jeff has
presented Vitsab’s research and development accomplishments in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. He has over 30 years of senior level global experience within the technology, pharmaceutical, and seafood industries.
Jeff is actively involved with Kennebec Valley Baptist Church and is currently serving in his third term on their Board of Directors. Jeff enjoys volunteering as a High School Girls’ Varsity Assistant Basketball Coach. He meets Saturday mornings with a group of local civic leaders to determine how they can give back to their community. Jeff has mentored many local business professionals by helping them navigate the challenges associated with becoming a lucrative small business in Central Maine. Jeff and his wife Paula love hosting high school foreign exchange students, helping them learn the culture while enjoy the benefits of a robust United States education. He served over the last 10- years on the Board of Directors at Temple Academy of Waterville, Maine where he helped them become accredited through New England Association of Schools and Colleges, develop a thriving foreign exchange student program, plus achieve over 150% student body increase. Accomplishing his goals with that educational institution, Jeff was searching for his next opportunity to contribute to our children through local
education. Jeff was thrilled to join the Board of Directors at Maine Arts Academy in October of 2018.
Drew Landry is an attorney with a practice concentrated in utility and energy matters. Drew is currently Deputy Public Advocate for the State of Maine, which involves representing the interests of consumers in utility regulatory matters before the Maine Public Utilities Commission and in other forums in which the interests of Maine utility customers are affected. Drew is a graduate of Syracuse University and the University of Maine School of Law. In addition to his role on the Board, Drew serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Theater at Monmouth, the Hallowell Planning Board and as Chair of the Hallowell Comprehensive Plan Committee. Drew has previously served as President of the Penobscot County Bar Association, Chair of the Brewer Water District, and board member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Bangor. Drew’s daughter is currently studying Art Education and the University of Maine. Drew is a resident of Hallowell.
Linda Rockwell Warner is a Craft Yarn Council Certified Knitting Teacher and works part-time at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. She is “Queen Bee” at Queen Bee Knits, designing and making custom knitwear.
A jack of all trades, Linda’s primary career has been raising three children as a stay-at-home parent and community volunteer in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. She served as President of Blue Ash Elementary PTA, Sycamore High School’s PTO, Theater Boosters, and Choir Boosters among others. She has been a mentor for nearly a decade.
Linda was Development Director for the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati where she designed an annual fund drive, published a healthy cookbook and hosted five nationally known speakers at their annual awards event including Christopher Reeve and Patty Duke.
Linda worked for Seminole County Public Schools in Florida as a Families in Transition Tutorial Coordinator and general support for homeless students under the Mckinney Vento Homeless Education Act, as a Language Support Tutor for special needs students, and as the school “nurse” at Woodlands Elementary School (Pre-K through 5th Grade.)
Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wells College in Aurora, NY. She currently serves as the Vice President of Friends of Messalonskee. Linda lives in Belgrade with her husband and their trio of Four-Leger’s.
Tim is retired after 34 years working in Maine state government. While working for the state he served in several departments, most recently protecting the Maine’s groundwater through the regulation of underground petroleum storage tanks. Tim serves on the Finance Committee at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Waterville, and is President and Treasurer of Reprise Choral
Ensemble. He is a past President of the McGrath Pond/Salmon Lake Association and served as Clerk of Vestry at St. Mark’s. Tim has a BS in Education from the University of Maine where he trained as an elementary school science teacher.
An accomplished musician, Tim co-founded two small choral ensembles: The Occasional Chorale based in Waterville and more recently Reprise Choral Ensemble based in Augusta. He has performed in a variety of music theater organizations and sung in numerous choral ensembles in throughout Maine including Vox Nova Chamber Choir in Brunswick and the
Oratorio Society at the University of Maine in Orono. Tim sang under the direction of the late Sir David Willcocks and performed at Trinity Wall Street and the Washington National Cathedral. He continues to sing at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church choir in Waterville, Colby Kennebec Choral Ensemble and Reprise Choral Ensemble.
Tim is a staunch supporter of arts education in all forms: the performing arts - music, dance and drama; the visual arts -painting, sculpture, and graphic design. He also worked for many years in the picture framing business owned by his family in Camden and himself is an amateur artist. Tim is committed to the ideals put forth by the Maine Arts Academy and to the Academy’s success as a charter school in central Maine.