LEWISTON — Linda Scott gets Lewiston.

“I know where the people in this community are coming from,” she said. “I live paycheck to paycheck. We work hard for our money, struggle like everybody else.”

A School Committee member for five years, Scott was elected chairwoman this month, which means she’ll lead the committee that has oversight of Lewiston public schools.

During meetings in recent years, Scott was often the first to ask what will a new program cost.

“I’m a huge fan of common sense and simplicity,” she said. “Keep it simple and answer what people really want to hear.”

She’s also a fan of encouraging more conversations from parents about schools, promoting hard work and boosting the city’s image.

During the Jan. 11 meeting — where a giddy woman addressed her as “Madam Chair” — Scott introduced her new standard: At every meeting, she’ll acknowledge one person who’s done more than expected to help Lewiston schools.

The first to be recognized was arts teacher Jody Dube of Lewiston High School for leading his students to make and sell “Lewiston High School cares” mugs to help homeless students.

Future recipients could be anyone.

“It could be the bus driver that goes above and beyond, the janitors who are there after hours during meetings,” Scott said. “Students who volunteer and we don’t hear about it. The parent on two different PTOs. These are the people we need to recognize and who make our school system what it is.”

She hopes it will boost the image and morale of Lewiston.

“Our teachers, our staff, our students do phenomenal work,” she said. “We need to recognize that. It doesn’t get done enough.”

Scott, 47, grew up with divorced parents. As a child, she moved a lot, attending schools in Lewiston, then Auburn, then Lewiston.

“We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed,” she said. “We come from a French family that worked in the shoe shops — worked all the time.”

Her parents improved their lots. In her later childhood, her father became a nurse; her mother, a stockbroker.

Scott works as an ed tech helping special needs preschoolers at Sandcastle in Lewiston, a job she calls challenging and rewarding and gives her insight to the demands of public school teachers.

A 1986 graduate of Lewiston High School, she and husband, Steve Scott, will celebrate their 29th anniversary in May. They have three children and one grandchild.

She became interested in education when their youngest was in kindergarten.

“Our daughter read ‘Little Women,’ the whole book, at age 5,” Scott said. “She went to kindergarten, then I home-schooled her until the seventh grade.”

During those years, she learned as much as she could about home schooling, got involved in home-school legislation in Augusta.

“I’m a self-taught person,” she said. “I don’t have a college degree; I’ve taken a lot of college classes and have a certificate in behavioral health.”

During her school years, Scott said she was influenced by many teachers.

“In high school, history and politics hit me,” she said. “I loved it. I was in AP history, one of 100 students able to go to Washington, D.C.”

That sparked her love of local politics.

“I haven’t stopped since,” she said.

When the weather’s nice, she walks everywhere. Walking makes it easy to talk to people, she said.

“That’s important,” Scott said. Sometimes on social media, critics make negative comments about Lewiston. “You don’t see those people walking downtown, talking to people, seeing places like Sarah Jeannes Hair Salon, where in the spring, they’re cleaning the (Sabattus Street) sidewalks and planting flowers.”

Being chairwoman will require her to be more involved in overseeing subcommittees and all work of the board. Scott said she’s excited about serving.

“I love this,” she said. “I can’t wait to do more.”

The Lewiston School Committee can’t change what happens on the state and federal level, she said.

“But we can make our students and parents comfortable with our school department and know what’s going on,” she said. “That’s really important.”

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