Phyllis Gardiner, P ’09, President
B.A. Harvard University
J.D. Northeastern University School of Law
Assistant Attorney General, State of Maine Department of Attorney General
Phyllis served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maine for over three decades before retiring in the spring of 2021. She practiced environmental law for the first decade and then shifted her primary focus to election law and campaign finance regulation – work that included advising the Secretary of State and the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices on legal matters and defending the constitutionality of state campaign finance and election laws. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s office, she clerked for two justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. She received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 1983 and her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1978. Before law school, she worked on renewable energy initiatives at the Massachusetts Office of Energy Resources.
As a result of participating in a year-long internship program in Minnesota between high school and college, and subsequently gaining her law school education through Northeastern University’s co-op program, Phyllis experienced first-hand the benefits of learning by doing and of exploring different opportunities in the working world before attending college. She is a firm believer in experiential education and a strong advocate for giving young adults the opportunity to grow in a healthy boarding school environment.
Building community through the arts and strengthening local food networks are two other passions of hers besides education. She and her husband, Robert (“Logan”) Johnston, helped found a local performing arts organization that is bringing a 150-year-old opera house theater back to life in downtown Gardiner, Maine – a former mill town that is gradually transitioning to a more creative economy. They also operate a grass-fed beef farm (now expanding into lamb and cheese production) on property in Gardiner that they manage for multiple generations of their family.
Phyllis was first introduced to Gould in the mid-1980’s through long-time friends Marguerite and Will Graham. Her son, Philip Johnston, graduated from Gould in 2009, and now directs an alternative program for high school and middle school students in Lewiston, Maine.
Phyllis joined the Gould Board in May 2013 and was elected President in May 2018. In retirement, she enjoys having more time to give to Gould, as well as volunteering for several local community organizations, working on the farm and in the vegetable garden, listening to audio books to continue her education, and playing with her 2-yr old granddaughter whenever the opportunity arises.