Mainely Character is an all-volunteer organization, there are no paid staff. Preparing for the scholarship, reviewing and rating applicants and making awards is a significant time commitment; it is a labor of love.
Arnold Bushner, Founder, conceived Mainely Character in hopes to help students obtain financial aid based on “doing good” in their lives and in their community. He believed that character is as important as academics, athletics, and the arts. The principles of courage, integrity, responsibility, and concern are the words he strived to live his life by and the values he promoted to family, friends, and colleagues.Around 1998 Arnie shared his vision for the Mainely Character Scholarship with Judy Katzel and Annalee Rosenblatt. He saw firsthand how a focus on character improved his daughters’ high school experience and he recognized that, through application of these principles, he grew as a family man and an individual. He lamented the lack of a scholarship that recognized the importance of character and was determined to correct this.
Arnold passed away on March 31, 2008. He was a devoted father to three girls and a wonderful husband to his wife of 30 years. A strong work ethic and effort to do his best helped Arnold become a successful businessman. Through the creation of this scholarship program, Arnie shone a light on the successes of students in the skills that truly count in life — courage, integrity, responsibility, and concern. His work lives on through the students Mainely Character supports each year.
Ari Berman was born and raised in Cape Elizabeth. He began his career working in Western Massachusetts before returning to Maine in 2013. He currently works as a physician for Northern Light Health with a clinical focus in geriatric, rehabilitative and palliative care. Ari lives with his wife and 3 children. He joined the Mainely Character Board in 2020 and is inspired by its mission.
Anne Cass retired in 2017 after 43 years teaching high school English and serving as a High School and Elementary school principal in both public and independent schools in New England and Oregon. As a founding board member of Heart of Character (www.heartofcharacter.org), she was delighted to join Mainely Character. She also serves as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at USM. Anne lives in southern Maine with her husband, author Richard Cass, and their cat, Tinker. She joined the Mainely Character Board in 2018.
Philip Hussey currently serves as a Vice President at Chenmark, a Portland-based small business acquirer and operator, and as CEO at Outerland Landscaping in Mashpee, MA. Philip has a deep passion for Maine and believes strongly in continuing to provide opportunities for students across the state. Philip received his MBA from Georgetown University where he spent much of his time focused on sustainability and rural economic development. Prior to Georgetown, he worked in the marketing department at Harvard Business School and at the Friends School in Ramallah, Palestine. Philip is a member of the seventh-generation family manufacturing business, Hussey Seating Company, and received his BA from Colby College in Waterville.
Susan Leighton worked in the College Placement Office of Scarborough High School for 13 years. She assisted seniors and their families with the college application and financial aid process and was directly responsible for the outside scholarship program for graduating seniors. Prior to that she worked for several years in banking and raised three children in the Greater Portland area. She and her husband ran a successful home inspection business for 15 years. She joined the Mainely Character Board in 2016.
Kris McCrea is the President of McCrea Coaching. She is a business, life and leadership coach who works with executives to strengthen their leadership capacity and grow their business/organization. She focuses on developing communication and relational skills along with refining processes to improve how work is experienced. She grew up on a farm in Aroostook County and learned the importance of character at a very early age. She has lived in Portland for 30 years with her husband Andy, and joined the Mainely Character Board in 2020. Kris is currently on a leave of absence.
Curtis A. Mildner is the owner of Market Decisions Research of Portland Maine. In 2007 he was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of Mainely Character. Impressed with the incredible examples of character among so many deserving students, he has been an enthusiastic advocate for the scholarship ever since. He and his company now sponsor a $5000 Mainely Character Scholarship. In addition to his role as President of Mainely Character, he also serves as Secretary of the Fifth Maine Museum on Peaks Island and as Trustee of Kennebunk Light and Power.
Susan Neumyer was raised in Wakefield, MA in a family of educators. She attended Colby College and started her teaching career in Reading, MA. Sue moved to Maine in 1987 and continued teaching in Portland and Saco, where she currently resides with her husband, Jack. She retired in 2017 after 35 years of elementary education in a variety of roles. She enjoys music, tennis, hiking, and photography. She joined the board in 2021.
Bill Penley is President of Penley Associates, Inc. in Scarborough, ME. The company provides contracted sales representation for small companies seeking growth through personal contact with current and prospective customers. Bill founded the company following a 34-year career with the US Postal Service where he held numerous jobs including Postmaster, Business Customer Relations Manager, and most recently National Account Manager. Bill, a graduate of the University of Maine, has been active in many community programs including the American Lung Association, Little League Baseball, and several church committees. Bill has served as treasurer of Mainely Character since 2006.
Cecily Rich is a behavioral health consultant, advocate, and counselor who retired after a 30-year career as a psychotherapist with a specialty in addiction. Dedicated to developing programs that address the long-term needs of people in recovery, Cecily worked in a variety of settings developing programs where she saw gaps. She created Ginger’s House-Extended Care for Women to provide psychotherapy, addiction counseling, and a life-skills curriculum that helps women to get to know and accept themselves again. Cecily is grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many wonderful clients and watch miracles happen as their courage and determination carry them into a bright future. She brings her commitment and passion to Mainely Character. She joined the board in 2019.
Peter R. Richardson retired in 2021, after a 42-year career in financial services. Most recently he worked for R. M. Davis, Inc. as Vice President and Portfolio Manager. Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Peter resides in South Portland with his wife of 41 years, Beth Richardson. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren. His hobbies include reading, travel, beekeeping, and pickleball. Peter has a long history of community involvement including: Good Shepherd Food Bank, Board of Directors, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee; Portland Public Library, President and Trustee (past); Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine, Director and Board President (past); St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Senior Warden and Vestry (past); Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, Board of Directors and Treasurer (past). Peter joined the Mainely Character Board in 2022.
Annalee Rosenblatt has served as Chair of Mainely Character Board of Directors and has been on the board since its inception in 2001. She has worked as a Labor Relations/Human Resources Consultant for over 30 years in Maine. Active in many civic organizations, she has served as former chair of the Scarborough Board of Education and chair of the Scarborough 350th Anniversary Celebration Committee. She notes, “Mainely Character offers students an opportunity to be recognized for their civic contribution to their school, Town, state or country which makes my participation an attractive and worthwhile way to spend my time and energy. Seeing the wonderful qualities of our young people during the scholarship awarding process makes the time so very worthwhile.”
Susan Walters worked in the Wells-Ogunquit School District for 30 years as a teacher, teacher leader, and administrator. In 1989, she helped to develop the first site for the Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP), a school-university partnership with the University of Southern Maine. This innovative program eventually was expanded to multiple districts and gained national recognition as a model for quality teacher preparation. Dr. Walters was a writing consultant to districts throughout Maine and New England. She continues to coach student writers at all levels and helps high school students tell their stories for college application essays. Since joining the Mainely Character Board in 2016 she has particularly enjoyed reading applicants’ stories and the opportunity to recognize Maine students with exemplary character.
Marcia Weston has worked in higher education for over 20 years primarily helping students, parents, and school counselors understand the intricacies of the federal and state financial aid process that provides funding for education beyond high school. Her passion is to assist first-generation students who have no or little history of higher education opportunities. She holds a PhD in Education Leadership with a focus on Cultural Foundations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and returned to Maine upon retirement. Marcia continues to dedicate her time to helping students to continue their education. She joined the Mainely Character Board in 2021.
Tricia Weyand retired in 2017 as Director of Guidance at Thornton Academy in Saco. Her career spanned 45 years in England, Ireland, and the US as teacher, community organizer, guidance and college counselor and therapist in private practice. Tricia also worked and volunteered extensively both with the Center for Grieving Children and the Kids First Center as facilitator and consultant. That involvement prompted her research and development of a workshop on the subject of “Forgiveness,” which has been presented widely and is a topic close to her heart. Tricia joined the Mainely Character Board in 2018.