Meet the candidates for the Sunapee School Board

On Election Day, March 13, 2012, voters in Sunapee will pick one of four candidates to fill a 3-year term on the Sunapee School Board.

Upon request, all the candidates provided Sunapee News statements for publication. We asked the candidates to list their qualifications and occupation and respond to the following questions: Why are you running? What are your goals if elected? What other information would you like voters to know about your candidacy?

Meet the candidates for the Sunapee School Board: Maria Fair, Michael Ripley, Paulette Rowell and Paul Skarin.

Maria Fair

I was a teacher for 12 years before becoming a stay-at-home mother. While home, I have substituted at the Sunapee Central Elementary School. I also volunteer in the school as often as I can. I am the bookkeeper for NEHSA (New England Handicapped Sports Association). I was president of the SPTO for two years and served as co-chair for the Sunapee Chowder Challenge for the past four years.

I am running because, as a parent with two children in the elementary school, I have a long-term, vested interest in wanting the school to be the very best it can be. Being on the board allows me to become involved in that process.

One area of importance to me is differentiated learning. Just last week, elementary school principal Mr. Pullman sent a letter home that talked about NECAP test scores. In it he mentioned 5th grade Math and Science specifically: “…with well over 90% of our students performing at the highest levels.”  With so many of our students doing so exceptionally well, I want to make sure that the schools can find a way to expand and challenge learning for ALL our students.

Michael Ripley

Why are you running? I have wanted to get involved more with the town for a long time. Being raised in Sunapee and attending Sunapee Schools has instilled a desire to do what is best for the town, the residents, and, most importantly to me, the children. The children are our future and I want what is best for them. I hope to be able to contribute to the community (present and future) by being a member of the Sunapee School Board.

What are some of your goals if elected? My goal is simply to make educated, well-informed decisions that will benefit the children and the community of Sunapee.

What other information would you like voters to know about your candidacy? I grew up in Sunapee, attending Sunapee Central Elementary School all of my elementary school years and continuing on to Sunapee Middle High School and graduating in 1991. Upon graduation from high school, I attended Keene State College and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Safety with a minor in Business. The years that followed kept me in New Hampshire., living on-and-off in Sunapee. My strong ties to the community brought me home in 2007. With my wife and 1-year old daughter, I own a house in town. I feel fortunate that my daughter and her soon-to-be born (June) brother will grow up in Sunapee and attend Sunapee schools.

Qualifications:  Raised and attended school in Sunapee.

Occupation: Insurance Claims Specialist

Paulette Rowell

Why are you running? I have entertained the idea of running for the Sunapee School Board several times over the years. It just never seemed like the right time or there were no openings. This winter, I was selected to be on the Sunapee Elementary School Principle Search Committee and I found myself thinking about it again. The process of searching for a principal really brought it home for me.

I love my town and I love the education my children are receiving! I want to be a part of supporting our town’s educational goals for our children and supporting our teachers in that process.

What are some of your goals if elected? My biggest goal would be to support the schools in keeping up with current state standards. I would also like to be a part of the process that helps the teachers, at all grade levels, to achieve the best outcome from all students.

What other information would you like voters to know about your candidacy? I have been an active parent in my children’s education at home and at school. I have been lucky to have the opportunity to be the president of the Parent Teacher Organization at the elementary school for several years. Also, I was the lead chair for the Chowder Challenge for several years. It is the PTO’s largest fundraiser and allows us to support the teachers and the school through traveling education programs, such as the Boston Museum of Science and Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS). The PTO has supported the literacy program within the elementary school by providing funds for extra books,  and it supplied funds for building an outdoor class.

Qualifications: Over the years, I have served on committees at my church and served on the Out Reach Committee and on the Church Education Board. Sunapee resident for 12 years. Born and raised in Claremont, N.H.  I am not afraid to do the work–to research, ask questions and make up my own mind.

Occupation: Before my children were born, I was a social worker for eight years. I then stayed home for 10 years to raise my children and returned to work just this year. I am a paraeducator in the Newport School system.

Paul Skarin

I am running for school board. I believe my qualifications are multiple. My oldest son graduated from Sunapee so from the student and parent perspective I have been involved from kindergarten to graduation. I also have two sons, one junior and one sophomore, still attending SMHS, and I am involved with their daily school and extra curricular activities.

I am a businessperson in Sunapee, and for 24 years have been brokering real estate. So I have an understanding of how real estate taxes and the school system affect the overall property values. My wife has been a teacher in the district for nearly 25 years. I have coached multiple teams in multiple sports for many years at the high school and middle school levels, including middle school baseball, middle school basketball as well as JV baseball and JV basketball. I have also chaperoned many school trips and events.

Currently I am the chairman of the Sunapee Recreation Committee, and I am on the Board of Directors for the Sunapee Harbor Riverway. Over the years I have volunteered my time to many community organizations (Kearsarge Valley Cal Ripken past president, Newport Chamber of Commerce, past president and former Sunapee Lion) and I believe this body of work will benefit me in working with the existing school board members to make the Sunapee School system even better than it already is.

I have no specific agenda other than to do my best for the community, the students, and the staff as it relates to the operation of the Sunapee School district. I will use my common sense, and my direct and practical approach to the operation of the schools and the issues that arise.

I can be reached at Lake Sunapee Realty, 763-6000 or on my mobile phone 387-2736 or via email at should anyone have any questions about my candidacy for school board.


Election Day is Tuesday, March 13, 2012. The polls in Sunapee will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sherburne Gym, Route 11. Information about absentee voting is available at the town clerk’s office.

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  1. […] Meet the candidates for the Sunapee School Board – Sunapee News […]

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