Bellows hired as interim head of Portland education nonprofit

Shenna Bellows, pictured here in 2013. BDN file photo by Troy Bennett.

Shenna Bellows, pictured here in 2013. BDN file photo by Troy Bennett.

Former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows has been hired as the interim executive director of LearningWorks, a Portland education nonprofit.

She’s replacing another prominent Democrat at the top of the organization: Ethan Strimling led LearningWorks before he was elected mayor of Portland this year.

Bellows, a Manchester consultant, will take over on Wednesday, but she said that she isn’t angling for the permanent position. Her contract ends in August, and by then, the organization hopes to have hired a replacement after a national search.

Will Kilbreth, chairman of LearningWorks’ board of directors, said Bellows will be paid $67,200 for the eight months of work, citing her eight years of experience as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine as a reason for her hiring. Strimling made nearly $100,000 in 2014, according to tax records.

The board “felt it was important to hire an interim executive director with strong fundraising and management skills on a short-term basis” so the group can continue its work, Kilbreth said in a statement.

Bellows is best known for her unsuccessful 2014 bid against U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican. She also played a lead role in the 2012 ballot question campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine. In 2012, Bellows briefly considered a U.S. House run in Maine’s 1st District after former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe resigned, but she didn’t run after Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st District announced that she wouldn’t run for Snowe’s seat.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.