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About Us



  • David E. Currier

    David has practiced law at Warren, Currier & Buchanan (or its predecessor) as a principal since 1988. Before that he was an associate at the Portland firm of Murray, Plumb & Murray.

    David received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1982. He was an editor of the Harvard Law Review from 1980-1982. He received his A.B. from Brown University in 1979.

    David is currently President of The Portland ESL Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to immigrants and refugees seeking to improve their English language skills. He served as Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the RSU5 (Freeport) Student Aspirations Partnership from 2007-2012. He served on the board of directors of The Iris Network from 1996-2005 and served as Chairperson of that board from 2002-2003. He also served on the board of directors of the Maine Civil Liberties Union from 1990-96, and was President from 1993-1994.

    David is a member of the bar of Maine and is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court.

  • Harro Jakel

    Harro has a master’s degree in engineering from Darmstadt University in Germany. Since 1995, he has been principal owner of a wood products company. Harro develops and promotes wood products including wood flooring, decking and truck flooring from plantation or sustainable forests around the world. Harro is also a director and president of Youth in Action Incorporated, a Maine nonprofit corporation that is a public charity under IRC section 501(c)(3) which is the fiscal sponsor for Side x Side’s grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Kimberley Niles

    Kimberley Niles, CPA, Treasurer, is the founder of VC CFO Services, LLC, a business consulting firm providing interim CFO and financial support services for start-up and established companies, as well as venture firms. She has over 25 years of experience as a finance professional, including 17 years as CFO for North Atlantic Capital, a Portland based venture firm. Earlier in her career, she held various roles in private industry and in public accounting. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and a licensed CPA in the State of Maine. Kimberley is currently a board director and treasurer for the Maine Venture Fund, a board director for Katahdin Bankshares Corp. (OTCQX: KTHN), a student mentor for UNH’s Mel Rines Angel Fund and a volunteer for the Preble Resource Center.

Advisory Board

  • Gretchen Berg, Lead Teaching Artist & Curriculum Consultant

    Gretchen Berg is a teaching artist/educator with more than 30 years of experience. She is known for her collaborative approach, working with educators and students to integrate theater, dance, visual arts and classroom curriculum in New England schools, community centers and museums. She received the Maine Alliance for Art Education’s 2007 Bill Bonyun Award for her contribution to the arts in Maine schools. Gretchen has taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (“Learning & Teaching about Diversity through Performance Art”), Bowdoin College, Bates College and the University of Southern Maine and holds an EdM Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

  • Gibson Faye-LeBlanc

    Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is a writer and teacher. His first collection of poems, Death of a Ventriloquist, was chosen by Lisa Russ Spaar for the Vassar Miller Prize and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2012. His poems have appeared in magazines including 32 Poems, Blackbird, Guernica, Linebreak, MaineMagazine, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Tin House, The New Republic, Poetry Northwest, Western Humanities Review, and Verse Daily, and in the anthologies Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House and From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great. His articles and reviews have appeared in Boston Review, Guernica, Pleiades, Publishers Weekly, and Time Out New York. He has received awards for his poems from the Bellevue Literary Review and UC Berkeley. With graduate degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University, he has taught writing and literature in public and private middle schools, high schools, and colleges in California, Vermont, New York, and Maine. In 2011 he was named one of Maine’s “emerging leaders” by the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media for his work directing The Telling Room, where he still occasionally teaches writing. He lives in Portland with his family and is at work on a novel.

  • Donna McNeil

    Donna McNeil - Side x Side, integrated arts education programming in Maine

    Donna McNeil is the Co-Director of Artists in Context and the former Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. She has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, Baker Artist Awards, St. Botolph Awards, MacArthur Foundation, and Piscataquis Artist Advancement grant, and she has worked extensively with the Creative Capital Foundation. She holds a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University, an MLA in Art History from Harvard University, and an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Maine College of Art. Donna has devoted a lifetime to the arts in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, holding directorial and curatorial positions in galleries, museums, and the performing arts.

  • Ashley O’Brion

    Ashley O’Brion is a graphic designer and art director for After working at BostonOprah, and Maine magazines, she became a freelancer in 2011, collaborating with clients from her farmhouse studio in Raymond, Maine. Ashley designs identities, branding systems, print materials, websites, and—her greatest love—publications, for which she has received multiple awards from The Society of Publication Designers.