AUGUSTA – Nominations are now open for the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year.
Members of the public can enter educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students at www.mainetoy.org through Feb. 20. To be considered, a teacher must hold at least a four-year degree and be employed by a Maine public school – including a public charter school or publicly supported secondary school.
The eventual winner of the state’s highest teaching honor, which is awarded by the Maine Department of Education through a program administered by Educate Maine, serves as an advocate for teachers, students and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.
“As we work toward ensuring there is a great teacher in every Maine classroom, it’s important to recognize the effective educators in our schools who are working tirelessly every day to help students reach their full potential,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The Teacher of the Year program provides an important opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our most deserving classroom leaders. I encourage all Mainers who have been positively impacted by an outstanding teacher to extend their appreciation by submitting a nomination today.”
The selection of Skowhegan Area Middle School special educator Jennifer Dorman as the current Teacher of the Year was the first that began with an online public nomination process that fielded nearly 400 entries and included recognition at the county level. Previously, only school principals and superintendents could put forth a candidate for consideration.
In addition to Dorman, other 2015 state finalists included Skip Crosby, Spanish teacher at Poland Regional High School and 2014 Androscoggin County Teacher of the Year; Sarah Reynolds, fourth grade teacher at Cascade Brook School in Farmington and 2014 Franklin County Teacher of the Year; and Vicky Grotton, prekindergarten teacher at Glenburn School and 2014 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.
The 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected from the 16 county honorees, who will be whittled down to eight semi-finalists and then three state finalists before the ultimate winner is announced by Maine’s Education Commissioner at a surprise school assembly in the fall.
Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine DOE that since 2013 has been administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness and increased education attainment. Funding is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Geiger, Hannaford and Unum with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.
“Maine has many dedicated and talented teachers and it is important to recognize all the work they do to help our students succeed. Educate Maine is proud to partner with the Maine Department of Education in this work to honor Maine’s teachers,” said Ed Cervone, Educate Maine’s executive director.
The Teacher of the Year program has no cost to taxpayers. Bangor Savings Bank reimburses the winning educator’s school district for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on their official duties, which includes travel throughout the state, a week at NASA Space Camp and a visit to the White House.