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News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, April 6, 2017
Island Education Foundation names new chairman

The Island Education Foundation announced today that Suzanne Ruch will be stepping down as chairman, as she will be moving to Chicago to be closer to her family. At their March meeting, Patrick Shepard was voted in as the new chairmen for IEF.

“It has been a privilege and a joy to work with IEF Board of Trustees, honoring numerous grant requests that afford our island students and residents unique educational opportunities,” Ruch said in a news release. The board thanked her for all her hard work and guidance and wished her the best in her next adventure.

Shepard was raised in Stonington and graduated from Deer Isle-Stonington High School in 2006. He lives in Surry with his wife Kassandra and daughter Kaia, and works as a Fisheries and Seafood Associate for the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington.

“I am excited to be of service to IEF in this new capacity,” he said. “I have served on the IEF board for about three years, and I always look forward to our meetings. We get to give money to kids so that they can experience some really neat educational opportunities. What could be better?”

Educational opportunities for island youth has always been an interest of his, and his background in fishing has inspired the exhibits he’s designed and built for the Center’s fisheries education space in Stonington.

“Suzanne will be sorely missed on the board of Trustees for IEF, and I hope I can carry the same energy and enthusiasm for our organization,” Shepard said.

The Island Education Foundation was established in 1994 to provide increased educational opportunities for Deer Isle and Stonington residents. Their granting season follows the school year and they accept applications from island nonprofit organizations seeking to develop educational opportunities for island residents. During the 2015-16 school year, IEF distributed over $11,000 in grants to 13 local educational and/or nonprofit institutions and over $5,000 from the Tony and Noi Garland Scholarship fund for high school students attending educational summer camps. The projects they typically fund involve innovative experiments that may promote new teaching methods, focus on under-served groups, or encourage team efforts to launch new programs not included in the annual school budget. IEF still has money to grant this calendar year. Take advantage of it by submitting an application before its next meeting on Thursday, April 13.

For information, visit, contact Shepard at 460-7991 or message