As Superintendent of the Sanford School Department, I care deeply about our students, staff, and the Sanford community. With this caring comes a responsibility not only to condemn violence but to provide education, at every opportunity for every student - no matter their race, religion, sexuality, or gender.

I believe in a future of peace and prosperity for all of our students. Equity, inclusion, respect and the acceptance of diversity are important for a positive climate and culture in education. To end racism and bias, we must continue to learn and to listen with an open heart. The work is challenging, but necessary, and we must do it together.

One of our District’s Pillars for Student Success centers around building a school community whose climate and culture fosters an environment where everyone engages in positive interactions, attitudes and behaviors. A school community free of discrimination and bias is a priority. Recently, we have taken the following steps to address diversity, equity and inclusion:

  • Understanding Bias training for all Sanford High School students through Brandon Baldwin of the Office of Civil Rights

  • Targeted Understanding Bias training for members of the Sanford High School Civil Rights Team through Brandon Baldwin of the Office of Civil Rights

  • Understanding Bias training designed specifically for all Sanford High School and Sanford Regional Technical Center staff through Brandon Baldwin of the Office of Civil Rights

  • WORDS Matter interactive training provided by John Jenkins for all Sanford high School coaches and athletes.

  • Ripple Effects of Culture; Foundational Approaches to Navigating Difference through Equality training provided by Maine Intercultural Communication Consultants for Sanford School Department administrators

  • Restorative Justice implementation and support in all Sanford schools

  • Challenge Day training provided by national Challenge Day speakers and local participants for Sanford’s middle and high school students; Challenge Day activities are designed to increase personal power and self-esteem, shift dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support and eliminate the acceptability of teasing, violence and all forms of oppression for students.

 I recognize that we still have a lot of work to do. With empathy and understanding, I hope that one day we can assure all children in Sanford, no matter their skin color, that they are safe, they are valued, and their lives matter. Please join me in helping to replace racism and hate, wherever it exists, with peace, kindness and love and to find peaceful and supportive ways to promote positivity in our schools and community.



Matt Nelson, Superintendent


Please follow this link to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources