Alana Margeson is chosen from among 10 nominees
Correction: This press release has been corrected to note that Margeson resides in Westmanland.
CARIBOU – Alana Margeson, a 10th– and 11th-grade English teacher at Caribou High School, was named the 2012 Maine Teacher of the Year in front of students, colleagues, family, and other distinguished guests Thursday. In keeping with Maine tradition, Margeson was not informed ahead of time that the “all-school assembly” was called to honor her.
Jennifer Pooler, Teacher of the Year coordinator for the Maine Department of Education, presented Margeson with the award and read a message of congratulations from Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen, who was unable to attend because he was called to speak before a legislative committee. Gov. Paul LePage delivered a videotaped message of congratulations.
Pooler said Margeson brings enthusiasm, energy and a natural positive outlook to her classroom. “Her nominating committee wrote that she engages students in debate, inquiry, research and discussion in a safe environment that encourages taking risks, thinking ‘outside the comfort zone’ and ‘a-ha moments’,” Pooler said.
Margeson is a resident of Westmanland. She received a dual bachelor’s degree in elementary and secondary education from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and her master’s in education administration from Saint Joseph’s College.
“We can debate education policy all we want, but on one point there is no lack of clarity: quality teachers like you, Mrs. Margeson, are at the heart of our educational system,” Commissioner Bowen wrote in his message, read aloud by Pooler. “We owe our thanks and gratitude to you and the thousands of Maine teachers who dedicate themselves every day to providing the best possible learning experiences for our children.”
The selection process began in February of this year with 10 nominees from elementary, middle and high schools across the state. A district-wide nominating committee prepared the application packet to nominate Margeson for the 2012 Teacher of the Year recognition. Nomination packets were scored by a group of educators, administrators, business partners, and past Teachers of the Year to determine the semi-finalists. The semi-finalists then underwent review by a team who spent a day at each of their schools last spring. During the summer, the semi-finalists compiled professional portfolios and gave a scored teaching demonstration to graduate students at the University of Maine. Those with the highest scores were named state finalists and interviewed by past Teachers of the Year to make the final determination.
In addition to Margeson, the 2012 state finalists were Tim Eisenhart, a mathematics teacher at Westbrook High School and Ingrid Stressenger, a fourth grade teacher at Pond Cove School in Cape Elizabeth.
Thursday’s ceremony was attended by several past Maine Teachers of the Year. Also in attendance were: Tap Fitzgerald, of Hannaford Supermarkets, which gives financial support to the Teacher of the Year program; Al Noyes, speaking on behalf of Bangor Savings Bank and the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education; Dale Gordon, RSU 39 School Board chair; other school officials; local legislators; former students; Maine Department of Education staff; Maine State Board of Education members; and members of Margeson’s family, including her mother, who flew across the Atlantic Ocean from Poland for the event.
Margeson will go on to compete in the selection process for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, whom will be announced in April 2012 at the White House.
The nomination process for the next Teacher of the Year begins this November. Those interested in nominating a teacher should contact their school principal, or visit the Maine Department of Education website at: www.maine.gov/education/toy.
The Teacher of the Year program is managed by the Maine Department of Education in collaboration with the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association. The program is fully funded by Hannaford Supermarkets, and Bangor Savings Bank will begin reimbursing the winner’s school district for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on official duties this year.