Office of Public Affairs

USM alumni nominated for leadership roles in state government

Two University of Southern Maine alumni have been nominated for a pair of Maine government’s top jobs: the commissioners of Education and Public Safety.

On Dec, 26, Pender Makin, a double alumna with USM degrees in 1991 and 2008, was nominated by then-Governor-elect Janet Mills to lead the Maine Department of Education. Two days later, Mills nominated former Portland Police Chief Mike Sauschuck '98 to lead the Department of Public Safety.

Makin, 54, earned both her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and her master’s in School Leadership from University of Southern Maine.

“If confirmed, I will work tirelessly to support our public school teachers, administrators, and students, and I will work to provide steady, trustworthy leadership at the Department of Education,” Makin said in a release. “Most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to what, I believe, is the most important work of all – public education.”

Makin was named the 2013-2014 Maine Principal of the Year by the Maine Principal’s Association and has also received the Milken Educator Award, a national distinction bestowed upon exceptional educators. Since 2015, she has served as the assistant superintendent of the Brunswick School Department.

Sauschuck, 48, grew up in the former Franklin County town of Madrid and earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminology in 1998.

He served the Portland Police Department for 21 years, the last six years as its chief. In July 2018, he announced his departure from the department and his hiring as Portland’s assistant city manager.

He currently serves on USM’s Board of Visitors.

As the Commissioner of Public Safety, Sauschuck would oversee several state bureaus including: Capitol Police, Consolidated Emergency Communications, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Drug Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, the Fire Marshal's Office, Gambling Control, Highway Safety and the Maine State Police.

‘“It will be my goal to lead a Department of Public Safety that not only protects the safety and welfare of the people of Maine, but that is also professional, accountable, and transparent,” Sauschuck said in a release from Mills’ office. “I am inspired by Maine’s law enforcement officers every day, and I will strive to be a commissioner who they and our state can be proud of.”

See more about Sauschuck’s nomination in the Portland Press Herald, the Bangor Daily News, Maine Public, the Forecaster and  WMTW-TV.

See more about Makin’s nomination in the Portland Press Herald, the Bangor Daily News, Maine Public, the Forecaster and the Times Record.