Teacher of the Year nominees honored at State House

The 10 nominees for 2012 span the regions of the state, subject matter and grade levels.

AUGUSTA — Wanda Whitener notices the students who stick with her music classes all nine years they attend her school are students who excel in academics and occupy the top slots in their graduating classes.

“They tend to know what discipline is and apply themselves to everything they do,” said Whitener, who teaches music at Tremont Consolidated School in Bass Harbor. “I feel that they learn some excellent lifelong skills through music.”

Whitener — who directs two bands, two orchestras and a chorus along with teaching instrument lessons and classroom music — is one of Maine’s 10 nominees for 2012 Teacher of the Year.

Whitener and the nine other nominees spent Wednesday morning discussing their work in the State House Hall of Flags and at a ceremony attended by Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen.

The 2012 nominees span the gamut in terms of the subjects and grade levels they teach. They teach math and English at the high school level and in the second, third and fourth grades.

Paige Fournier takes the students with the most intensive physical, mental and emotional needs at Lyman Moore Middle School, and guides them through a program that involves academics, community outings and enrollment in select mainstream classes.

Not only do the students in Fournier’s life skills class get a taste of what school is like for everybody else, other Lyman Moore students come to know Fournier’s students well.

Those students regularly visit the life skills classes to teach what they’ve learned in their classes.

“It’s doubly good,” Fournier said. “They’re learning, and they’re teaching.”

Semi-finalists for the Teacher of the Year honor will be named later this week. The winner is announced at a surprise event in September.

The other 2012 Maine Teacher of the Year nominees are:

  • David Arenstam, Thornton Academy, Saco
  • Tim Eisenhart, Westbrok High School
  • Stephanie Gautreau, Yarmouth Elementary School
  • Rebecca Leamon, Mount Desert Island High School
  • Alana Margeson, Caribou High School
  • Jolene Randall, Tripp Middle School, Turner
  • Meghan Schall, George B. Weatherbee School, Hampden
  • Ingrid Stressenger, Pond Cove Elementary School, Cape Elizabeth

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