Honoring our effective teachers

Author icon: Head shot of Commissioner Stephen BowenIt’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and two Maine teachers are receiving prestigious honors this season for the important and noble work they do each day for our children.

Shelly Moody, a teacher at Williams Elementary School in Oakland, will be feted Wednesday night at a reception in Washington, D.C., for the work she’s done to meet the needs of every student who’s walked into her classroom over the past decade.

Moody is Maine’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, and she’ll join her counterparts from the across the United States for special recognition in the nation’s capital.

Meanwhile, Waterville teacher Laurette Darling is absorbing the news that she’s one of 85 teachers from across the United States to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

There’s also a trip to the nation’s capital in the offing for Darling, who will travel south on May 16 to receive her recognition and meet with inspiring colleagues from across the country.

Darling is a fourth-grade teacher at Waterville’s Albert S. Hall School, where she’s worked on getting youngsters engaged in the sciences.

Just as all of this recognition is going on, a special team of evaluators is starting the work of deciding who will be recognized as Maine’s next Teacher of the Year. The team recently started visiting the classrooms of the six semi-finalists in the running for the 2012 honor. Early indications are it’s going to be difficult to narrow down the field.

When it comes to shaping our future here in Maine and nationwide, teachers need to know that their work is vitally important. That’s why, from my perspective, it’s heartening to hear about these examples of remarkable teaching going on in Maine’s schools.

As we concentrate on strategies to put every child in the classroom of an effective teacher, those examples tell me the professionals already teaching in our schools have lots of wisdom they can impart.

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