Staff and Board


Susan Potters, Executive Director

Susan Potters has been Executive Director of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education since 2014. Susan’s association with MAAE began as a board member in the 1990’s. In 1997 Susan organized an Arts Education Census for the 53 schools in the Greater Bangor Region in conjunction with a community-wide conference, “The Arts in Our Schools, k-12.” The success of that event led MAAE to set up its first regional office in Bangor with Susan as its director. Eventually the Bangor Region Office was expanded to include the whole two-county Penquis Region. As part of her MAAE work, Susan developed “Building Community Through the Arts” for the region’s high schools in 1999 and has directed the program ever since. As a high school English teacher in New York City before moving to Maine in the early 80’s, Susan’s own experience in theater and dance made her comfortable with integrating the performing arts into the classroom. Susan’s arts education work was also influenced by her experience as Executive Director of the Bangor Region Arts Council and as board president of the region’s Arcady Chamber Music Festival. Both were influential in the community inclusion she brought to her projects then and still does today as MAAE’s statewide director.


Melissa Birkhold, Advocacy Coordinator

Melissa Birkhold is a bassoonist and elementary general music teacher in Bethel and Woodstock, Maine. In addition to developing the foundational music skills in her K-5 students, Melissa is passionate about enabling these young musicians to collaboratively create their own original music, thereby deepening their ability to work together and learn together as a group. In the summers she teaches at Camp Encore/Coda in Sweden, Maine. Previous arts advocacy experience includes interning at Americans for the Arts in Washington, DC. As a bassoonist, she has performed with the Washington Chamber Orchestra, Classical Revolution Baltimore, Symphony Syracuse, Syracuse Opera Company, and the Orchestra of Northern New York, among others. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and her Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.

Board of Directors

Stephen Wicks, Interim Board Chair, Orono

Sandra Ruch, Secretary, Belfast

Joan Staffiere, Veazie

Con Fullam, Windham

John Harlow, Skowhegan

Jen Roe, Portland

Representative Rebecca Millett, Cape Elizabeth

Anna Woolf, Winter Harbor

Gretchen Gehrke, Hartland


Rich Abramson, Arundel

John Rohman, Bangor

Jasmine Ireland, Bangor

Michael Edgecomb, Spruce Head

Elizabeth Watson, Portland

Emily Cain, Orono

Mazie Hough, Orono

Robin Brooks, Topsham