Parent Joins Board, Alumna is New Chair
Kenelm “K.” Guinness, a current GSA parent from Blue Hill, was named a trustee at George Stevens Academy in June, one of a few recent changes to the board.
“He will be an excellent addition to our diverse board,” said then-chair Samantha Politte in an email. K., who has been serving on the boarding program committee, “understands that the diversity and richness of that program benefits all students at GSA, whether they are from Penobscot, China, East Timor, or Isle au Haut.” K. also has joined the academy’s advancement committee.
“The Blue Hill community has been a meaningful part of our family’s life for generations,” the new trustee said in an email, “and GSA is a defining part of that community. I am very grateful for the excellent job GSA has done preparing our daughter for college. It is a kind and diverse school with wonderful teachers and great opportunities. As a grateful parent, I hope to give back to the school and community through my service to the board.”
K., who earned his bachelor’s degree in air studies with a minor in finance from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is an aviation consultant with a long work history as a pilot. He is a Freemason and a member of the Quiet Birdmen, the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club, and the Cruising Club of America.
In addition to their daughter, Fiona, a rising senior at GSA, K. and his wife, Melissa, also have a son, Jack.
In other changes to the board, two longtime trustees stepped down.
Jim Markos, general manager of Maine Shellfish, “brought his business and financial savvy to the GSA board,” Samantha said. As board treasurer, Jim led the board and business office to adopt new, more strategic ways to analyze and forecast school finances. “Jim also worked with students in the Maine Skippers Program, lending his expertise and demonstrating to students what a future in that field can look like.”
Tyler Knowles, retired educator and chair of the English Department at the Winsor School, “cares deeply about education, students, and GSA,” Samantha said. “She is bold and imaginative and never afraid to speak passionately about GSA.” Tyler has served on and chaired numerous committees, as well as serving as vice-chair of the board for two years.
Though they are stepping down as trustees, both have agreed to continue to share their skills and expertise on committees, Jim on the finance committee and Tyler on the advancement committee. “We thank them both for their exemplary service, their wisdom, and their friendship,” Samatha said, “not only to fellow trustees but to the entire GSA community.”
The leadership of the board also has changed. Samantha stepped down as board chair, and Sally Mills ’85 stepped up.
“This is a particularly special time for me to be so involved in the life of the school,” Sally said, “as my son Robbie is a rising sophomore, and my son Chris is a recent graduate. I am completely immersed in life at GSA!”
She said that an “enormous advantage” in her transition to the new role is that Samantha has agreed to be vice-chair for a year. “Samantha is smart, organized, and passionate about GSA,” Sally said, “not the nonprofit corporate entity, but its mission: to provide a comprehensive and challenging education for all students, for those who will build futures in surrounding communities and for those who will make their lives elsewhere in the world.”
“I plan to put my GSA education to work,” she said, “and build on the fine work of Samantha Politte and our current and past trustees” in tackling many complex issues, “not least the challenge of educating students in a time of global pandemic. And we have work to do in communicating with our communities about our finances and our vision for the future.”