BELFAST, Maine — This Election Day, Belfast voters will choose between two candidates for an open seat on the board of directors of the new Regional School Unit 71.

Candidates Paul Krohne and Jessica Woods are vying for the seat now held by Director Ben Potter, who is not seeking re-election. The district separated from Regional School Unit 20 on July 1 and includes Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont and Swanville.

“I want to be on the school board because I would like to serve my home community,” Woods, a former guidance counselor in the district, said Friday. “I feel like I can bring some consistency to the table. I know all the staff in the district. I know a lot of the students and the families. My plan is to spend one day a week at RSU 71, supporting teachers and finding out what they need for professional development.”

After working at Belfast Area High School for nine years, Woods — who also is known around the region for her work with the nonprofit Cinderella Project — stepped down this summer to take the guidance counselor position at Islesboro Central School. She said she is committed to improving education.

“Unfortunately, Belfast does foot the lion’s share of the school bill. I don’t think that’s something I’m going to fix as a school board member. I think that’s a state and federal issue,” she said. “I want other people to move to town to share the costs of the municipality. The better schools we have, the more people are going to want to move here. We’re the gem of the midcoast. The only thing that’s not there yet is the educational system.”

Krohne retired in June after a 30-year career in education that included stints as an executive director for state school board organizations and as a university professor of educational leadership and school finance. He came to Belfast with his family seven years ago.

“Now that I’ve hit retirement, I don’t quite have the local school board service out of my blood,” he said.

If elected, he said he would like to go “very deep” into the budget and also bring more transparency to the complex school budgeting process. He also would like to work with the school board to do long-range strategic planning and to invite the local business community to be part of the conversation about education.

“Do the students we’re sending you now have the skills that are valuable to you?” he asked. “Are we doing the right thing, and if not, how can we make it better?”

He said that he is a big supporter of public education.

“Now it’s time for me to give back a little bit,” he said. “To be on that side of the table, making decisions that really do find the balance between providing the very, very best educational experiences we can and protecting the local taxpayer as best we can.”