GREENE — When residents in Greene head to the polls Tuesday to select a new representative to Maine School Administrative District 52, they’ll be faced with two candidates running on strikingly different platforms.

One is a long-time educator most concerned by post-pandemic achievement gaps and teacher retention. The other is a military veteran who believes restricting school programming on social emotional learning and LGBTQ+ topics should take priority.

Their differences echo a growing national divide over how and what students in public schools should be taught. But unlike similar school board elections elsewhere, this is not a fight between a Democrat and Republican.

Both candidates are registered Republicans.

Bre Allard Submitted photo

Bre Allard is an Auburn native who moved to Greene in 2016, drawn in part by the school district’s smaller, more intimate class sizes. Her 17 years in education include five years teaching English at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. She left the district last year to pursue a literacy coaching position at Lewiston Middle School.

Allard also holds a masters degree in secondary education from the University of Southern Maine.


Three of her children attend Greene Central School, where she was president of the Parent Teacher Committee last year. Her fourth child will be a freshman at Maine Academy of the Arts this fall, a tuition-free charter school in Augusta.

Adam Blake Submitted photo

Her opponent, Adam Blake, is a graduate of Leavitt and a native of Leeds. He moved to Greene about a year and a half ago after living in Wales. His wife, an elementary school art teacher in Maranacook Area Schools, grew up in Greene and graduated from Leavitt.

Blake served 10 years in the Army, including one tour in Iraq. He is currently employed as an ATM technician, but has previously worked in security, construction, retail and as a volunteer firefighter.

He has three children who attend Greene Central School, one at Tripp Middle School and another at Leavitt.

In a town where two out of three voters supported former President Donald Trump’s bid for reelection in 2020, it’s difficult to predict whether residents will back a moderate candidate or one whose views lean further to the right.

If elected, Allard’s priorities would align with the majority of the nine-person school board, most of whom have not sought culturally divisive policy changes. Blake’s addition would bolster a minority of the board whom support additional restrictions on library materials, professional development programs and discussions about sexuality between students and staff.


At the forefront of these challenges is Anthony Shostak, a representative from Greene who upset long-time incumbent Yuri Kowalski in an election last year. Kyle Purington, Greene’s other representative, has sided with Shostak on some of these causes.

Tuesday’s election will decide which candidate will replace Brooke Nadeau, the most moderate of the three, who chose not to run for reelection. Ultimately, the outcome stands to answer whether voters in Greene want to see their school board focus on more traditional education issues or pursue controversial policies.

Allard said her experience in MSAD 52 schools would bring first-hand knowledge of students’ and educators’ needs to the board. One of her primary concerns is the high turnover of staff she has seen at Greene Central and Leavitt.

As a member of the school board, she would focus on providing additional support to teachers by advocating for better compensation, recruiting more substitutes and keeping class sizes small.

An enticing employment package is critical for attracting and retaining teachers, according to Allard, which would also provide better educational outcomes for students. As it stands, teachers in Buckfield and Livermore receive better compensation than those in MSAD 52, she said.

“Ultimately, those teachers are the biggest influence aside from parents … for our students,” she said. “They’re the coaches, they’re the mentors, they’re the teachers. We want to make sure that we have the best and that we’re keeping them.”


Blake asserts his time with the military and in various professional fields has given him the breadth of knowledge to clearly see what will benefit students and what will harm them. He said he would be an ally for parents who are frustrated by the district’s current direction, if elected. 

At Oak Hill Middle School, Blake said his eldest daughter was reprimanded twice for writing about her views on abortion and transgender issues in a journaling assignment.

Students were told to write about something they’re passionate about, he said, noting he expects most students focused on their hobbies. Both times he confronted school staff, believing that it wouldn’t have been an issue had his daughter shared liberal viewpoint on those topics.

“I’ve been at odds (with) the school system all along, with a lot of different issues,” he said.

While the problem occurred in a neighboring district, he said the same ideology is “absolutely” present in MSAD 52. He pointed to the school board’s decision to retain “Gender Queer,” a controversial graphic novel about the author’s journey to discover their gender and sexual identity, in the high school library.

Liberal ideology in schools and “pornographic” books are distracting students from their education, he said, adding that social emotional learning activities are teaching students to be victims.


“I haven’t sat down and dissected an individual program within the schools myself, but there’s a general environment being created within the school system that’s promoting these things,” he said.

His information about MSAD 52 schools comes primarily from his kids, he added.

Allard rejects the idea that LGBTQ+ and other politically charged issues should take priority, pointing instead to disparities in student achievement which have persisted since the pandemic.

“I don’t even care if they can read an LGBTQ+ book in the library at the high school,” she said. “If they are below their reading level, they will never go pick out some of these books to read.”

She said she was frustrated by the number of conversations that have focused on LGBTQ+ issues, asserting that teachers do not teach it in schools. She supports the boards decision to retain “Gender Queer,” adding she approved of the district’s compromise.

In January, the board voted 5-3 to keep the book under conditions that it only be available to high school students and cannot be required reading. Parents who do not wish for their children to read “Gender Queer” or any other book in the library can fill out an online form.


“I don’t want to keep rehashing arguments and discussions and disputes from the past,” she said. “We need to be looking and moving forward for our students.”

Both candidates say there’s work to be done to repair the school board’s relationship with the community, however each has a different view of what that should look like.

Allard sees herself as a moderate voice able to bridge division on the school board and broker bipartisan decisions. Sensitive topics must be addressed civilly, she said, adding she has not always been pleased with the conduct of board and community members.

When people quote information to support their point, she often feels that it is taken out of context. She emphasized the importance of looking at the facts of an issue in full before making decisions.

“As an English teacher, I teach all students that we can’t just pull a quote to twist it to fit the thesis of our writing,” she said. “If it’s taken out of context, it doesn’t have the correct meaning.”

In contrast, Blake expressed sympathy for the conflicts, saying he believes they arise because the school district is making decisions against the community’s wishes.


“I think civil discourse is a wonderful thing,” he said. “But if the school board continues to push agendas that the parents and people disagree with … then they need to expect the people that they represent to be angry with them.”

The school board has forgotten who it’s supposed to serve, Blake said.

“They would say they serve the students, but they are supposed to be serving the families,” he said. “They were put in their position by the parents.”

On Tuesday, Greene residents will select a candidate to represent them, and will also send a message about the direction they wish to see the district head.

Polls will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. at the town office.  

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