Board of Directors

Laura Thomas, Chair

Cherryfield, Maine

Laura is an ESL teacher and coordinator for Milbridge Elementary School and MSAD #37. In May of 2009 she graduated from the University of Maine at Orono and in the Fall of 2010 she started her first teaching job as an ESL instructor at Milbridge Elementary. She first got involved with Mano en Mano through the Migrant Education Program the summer before she started teaching, working with out-of-school students during the Washington County blueberry harvest, as well as through community potlucks that were going on at the time. She has been involved with Mano en Mano and its Board since joining the community. Laura enjoys the kids and families she has been able to work with over the years and says that her best Spanish teachers have been her students.

Rebeca Ortiz, Vice Chair

Steuben, Maine

Rebeca currently works at Wyman’s as an HR Assistant and Safety Coordinator. She attended Thomas College in Waterville where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Business with a minor in Political Science.  The oldest of 5 siblings, Rebeca moved to Maine in 2000 and first got connected with Mano en Mano in its early stages in 2002, when she was in high school and over a two year period received tutoring for some of her classes. Around 2012 she was able to give back to Mano en Mano when she first became a member of the Board of Directors. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

Scott Peasley, Treasurer

Scott Peasley is a Vice President at Machias Savings Bank and has been with the bank since 2002. After four years in the United States Air Force from 1985-89, he attended University of Maine Orono and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Finance. From 1996 to 2002, he worked for MBNA bank. He has also served as board chair for the Regional Medical Center in Lubec (2003-2012) and Treasurer for Families United (2013-2016). Scott has three sons and runs a blueberry farm that has been in his family since the late 1800s.

Brian Dyer Stewart, Secretary

Harrington, Maine

Brian Dyer Stewart is a web designer, musician and gardener who lives in Harrington, Maine.  He coordinated a volunteer nurses' clinic in a homeless shelter in Boston after college and moved Downeast in 1982 to start a family with his wife Pam, a home birth midwife.  He has been a teacher, carpenter, and computer programmer.  He was the community organizer for Peace in Central America (PICA) in Bangor during the late eighties and early nineties.  His family hosted refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala in 1989 and 1990. He currently develops web sites for legal service programs.

Adan Delgado

Gouldsboro, Maine

Adan was born and raised in Morelia, Mexico and moved to the U.S. when he was 22 years old. He lived in California at first and later moved to Maine in 2009. He worked at a sardine and lobster factory, and now works at Hinckley Yachts as a technician laminating glass and carbon fiber. Adan has been an active member of the leadership group Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad (Our Voice in the Community) for the past three years through

visioning with the group and organizing events. In his spare time, he spends time with his family and children or watching documentaries.

Clemencia Garcia

Milbridge, Maine

Clemencia moved to Milbridge from Mexico in 2001. She has three children that attend school in Milbridge. She connected with Mano en Mano when she first arrived and took English classes with Candice Austin, one of the original founders of Mano en Mano. She currently works at Worcester Wreath. She enjoys spending time with her family - their favorite activity right now is playing baseball.

Esther Kempthorne

Milbridge, Maine

Esther is the Spanish Teacher at Washington Academy in East Machias. Though she has a degree in Business Administration, she has been working in Education for the last 8 years. Esther worked at the State Department in Monterrey, Mexico before moving to Virginia, Texas, and finally Maine. She has worked in several schools in Washington County as a Spanish teacher, ESL teacher, and as a translator of school documents. She first became involved with Mano en Mano in 2011 as a tutor when she first arrived to Maine. Esther has been a member of the Board of Directors for about two years, inspired by her own understanding of the difficulties of moving to a new country and her work creating an ESL group while living at an Air Force base in Virginia. In her free time Esther enjoys reading and spending time with her daughters.

Jennifer Peters

Jennifer Peters joined Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) in June 1996 while attending classes at the University of Maine at Machias. She graduated summa cum laude from UMM in 1997 with a Bachelor of Sciences degree with concentrations in Marketing and Office Management.

First as SCEC Program Manager and as Assistant Director since 2010, Peters has played a crucial role in developing and administering several of the Council’s signature programs, including its scholarship fund for nontraditional learners, and trainings for small- and micro-business people. She has also coordinated the Noyce award winning Washington County Leadership Institute since 2002, and is an active member of boards and committees dealing with topics from sustainable tourism to economic development, education and workforce development.

Suzen Polk-Hoffses

Milbridge, Maine

Suzen is a pre-k teacher at Milbridge Elementary School where she has taught since 2000. She attended San Francisco State University where she received her B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in La Raza Studies and her M.Ed. from the University of New England. She first became involved with Mano en Mano by volunteering in their Comienza en Casa (It Starts at Home) program where she promoted the importance of incorporating literacy activities in the home. A board member since the summer of 2017, she is activity involved in the issues of poverty, social justice and closing the opportunity gap for children. Suzen enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Beth Russet

Milbridge, Maine

Beth works as a Family Nurse Practitioner for both the University of Maine at Machias and the Maine Migrant Health Program. She has been involved with Mano en Mano since its founding. She has been a Board member twice, first from the original Board until 2012 and then again just recently. She has been regularly involved in community events as well as work around health education and women’s health issues. Mano en Mano's office was based out of Beth's home. In Beth’s free time, she teaches yoga and spends time with her two teenage sons.

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