Portland Public Schools

The board voted 7-0 to elect Tom Koehler, who won a seat on the board in 2013, to be the board's new chairman. Koehler was often in the minority, along with Steve Buel, when Pam Knowles led the school board. Koehler and Buel, for example, were the only two board members to vote against Superintendent Carole Smith's 28 percent raise last year.

The board also did away with the idea of having co-chairmen run the board. Members have instead opted to have one chairman and one vice chairman, unanimously electing newcomer Amy Kohnstamm to that later role. Kohnstamm ousted incumbent Bobbie Regan in a hard-fought and expensive May election.

But that's not the biggest change. Board members have resurrected a practice that died under Knowles—having board members lead subcommittees on topics such as the district's budget, its education philosophy and its spending on construction projects.

Kohnstamm will oversee a new committee looking at the district use of its $482 million construction board. Mike Rosen, who advocated for an audit of administrative salaries, will chair the audit committee. Buel, a former teacher, will lead the committee on teaching and learning. And Paul Anthony, a CFO of a business valuation company, will run the budget committee.