‘In the Loop’ with the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education
By Jodee Riordan
Board of Education President
It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Board of Education member Anne Orr. Anne was an excellent board member, an amazing person and a wonderful friend. She was a woman of great wit, intellect, diplomacy and charm.
Anne was a Lew-Port alumna (Class of 1975), graduate of both Smith College and UC Berkley, and semi-retired after 40 years in communication and change management. After many years on the West Coast, Anne had returned to her hometown of Youngstown, moving to her grandmother’s home on Church Street, which she beautifully restored.
Anne ran for the Board of Education in 2019, winning a three-year term. When asked, “Why do you want to be/become a member of the Board of Education?” Anne said, “The surest path to a strong future for our community is by educating Lewiston-Porter students, while ensuring those teaching them are supported as well. We do this while balancing the real challenges of need and taxpayer capacity. This isn’t easy work, but it is important work, and I look forward to the opportunity of collaborating with the current Board of Education for a bright future.
“As graduate of Lewiston-Porter in 1975, I received an outstanding education. I went on to considerable professional success with careers in advertising and marketing, then in corporate consulting on mergers and acquisitions, and now in interior architecture and design. The foundation for it all was the education I received at the Youngstown Red Brick School and then at the Lewiston-Porter Junior and Senior High Schools. I feel strongly about giving back to the school district that has given so much to me and to generations of my family. ... Once a Lancer, always a Lancer!”
Anne dove into her work on the board immediately, joking at her second meeting that she was only ¾ of the way through the 1,000-plus-page school law book. She voraciously read that law book, the policy manual, and everything she could get her hands on. She joined both the facilities and policy review committees, two of the most involved and critical board committees. When Col. Lance Dickinson left the board last June, Anne stepped up to lead the policy committee.
Chairing this committee, especially after Lance’s tenure and during a global pandemic, would have been daunting for anyone else, but her analytical and strategic planning experience gave a calm, methodical approach to this vital work, for which the district benefited immensely.
Her service to the community extended beyond the Board of Education, to numerous charitable and political organizations. When there was work to be done, a cause to champion, or a need in the community, Anne was there. During the past year of the pandemic, she worked tirelessly delivering meals to those in need and made thousands of cloth masks, which she distributed freely throughout the district and across the country. The day before her death, she delivered over a hundred children’s masks that she had made for an upcoming event on her way home from her work at Meals on Wheels.
Everything Anne did, she did with great attention to detail. Everything she did, she did with great care. She was one of the most thoughtful people I have ever known: Present in every moment. Always thinking of the greater good. Bringing a simple joy and meaning to every aspect of life. She elevated every conversation, every occasion, every day.
On behalf of the Board of Education, we send our deepest condolences to her family and friends, of whom there are so many – here in the Lew-Port community, and far and wide – and share deeply the shock and grief of her loss. We were privileged to have worked with her and honored to be counted as her friends. We are all better to have known her.