October 28, 2016

Mara joins School Board

Aug. 19, 2010

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

A week and a half before the deadline to submit applications to replace Keith Roy on the Williston School Board, the board hadn’t heard from a single candidate. Yet before the deadline passed, the board received eight applications. From that set of candidates, the board opted to appoint Kevin Mara to the open seat.

“I’m honored and glad to be of service. I’m looking forward to getting started with it and trying to help the community and make a difference,” Mara told the Observer on Tuesday.

The School Board solicited applicants earlier this summer after Roy, a MEDEVAC helicopter instructor pilot with the Vermont National Guard, announced that he would resign Aug. 15, prior to deploying to Iraq.

Board Chairwoman Holly Rouelle said Mara stood out from the other candidates in that he had worked with the Williston School Board in the past, as a budget buddy and a member of the Williston Conceptual Frameworks Committee. Budget buddies participate in budget discussions each year. The Frameworks Committee was a group of teachers, administrators, parents and community members that made recommendations on the reconfiguration of the school district.

Rouelle also said numerous community members e-mailed the School Board recommending Mara as an objective person able to see more than one side to an issue.

Mara’s first meeting with the School Board will take place Sept. 7. He’ll serve on the board until Town Meeting in March.

“Because it’s a temporary role and we were looking for someone to jump in right before the budget season, we felt his learning curve was smaller than other candidates who’d never been to a budget hearing or who’d worked with the board,” Rouelle said.

Mara has two children: his daughter, Katie, is entering Champlain Valley Union High School as a freshman. His son, Patrick, is entering seventh grade at Williston Central School.

Mara said his prior experience with the school district generated his interest in doing board work and serving the community.

Despite the previous experience, Mara expects to face a lot of hard work.

“I think it’s going to be a big learning curve,” he said. “I think the biggest goal is going to be addressing what is going to be a very large budget challenge for the community next spring.”

The Vermont Department of Education has recommended budget cuts in school districts throughout the state, including for Williston and Chittenden South Supervisory Union.

Mara also wants to continue work to ensure equity throughout the school district.

The newest board member is unsure if he’ll run to retain the seat in March.

“It’s wide open in either direction,” he said. “I guess I look at it as a unique opportunity in that I’ve been appointed by the board. It gives me a chance to learn about the process and understand if what I think is going to be a lot of work is something I can handle and participate in.”

If he does decide to run for the position, he could face competition. Rouelle said “some incredibly qualified candidates” stepped forward to replace Roy. She said the board encouraged the applicants to maintain a relationship with the board by serving as budget buddies in the fall.

“The seat’s open in the spring for anyone who wants to run,” Rouelle said.


  1. Mary Martin says:

    I would like to explain the charges of unlawful restraint because it sounds really awful. No we didn’t hold anyone hostage. We were simply standing in front of some VT Gas/Michel’s trucks. They were in no way restrained. When the men decided to leave, they simply backed up and took off. The police have been hired by VT Gas and they sure do have a way of turning a phrase.

    Mr. Recchia refers to this action as a “last-ditch” attempt to scuttle the pipeline. Wrong again! This was far from our last attempt to bring sanity and reason to our state officials who refuse to listen or help.

    Nate Palmer and Kari Cuneo and their families are not the only land owners who have fought this immoral taking of their land. So many folks have lost that fight for lack of time and money. It’s quite intimidating to go before the Public Service Board and their team of lawyers, to sit down at a table filled with VT Gas attorneys and not have anyone to watch your back and advise you.

    When people are up against the wall, they fight back any way they can. Peaceful protests not only express our frustration but they help bring attention to what is happening to our friends and neighbors..

    So Mr. Recchia, we are not done!

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