Cape Elizabeth teacher named Maine’s 2016 Teacher of the Year

Talya Edlund was selected from over 300 nominees as Maine’s top teacher

2016-toyCAPE ELIZABETH – Today in a surprise assembly at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Education Rachelle Tome announced Talya Edlund had been selected as the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Edlund, an educator of 15 years, the past 12 in Maine, has exemplified how innovative teaching can be. She was greeted by her peers and the students of Pond Cove Elementary School with abounding excitement.

Talya Edlund is noted to have set high standards not only for her students but for herself as well. In a congratulatory letter to Edlund, Governor Paul R. LePage wrote, “Through your teaching, you foster a sense of self-reliance, a love for learning, an independence, and endless encouragement for students.”

Talya EdlundIn her application for Maine’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, the third-grade educator wrote she chose to become a teacher based on the inspiration of a French tutor and studying languages early on in life. “I learned that teaching is a language. That language is not always precise and it is rarely ever the same, but teaching is dynamic and good teaching is always relevant.”

Maine Department of Education Acting Deputy Commissioner Rachelle Tome recognized Edlund as innovative. “Talya Edlund embodies those exemplary characteristics we have seen in all of the stellar educators identified as 2015 County Teachers of the Year.  With her ‘think out of the box’ approach to problem solving, tenacious attitude for overcoming challenges, zest for staying at the cutting edge of her craft, and uncanny insight into the needs of her students and colleagues, she is the teacher we all want our children to have and the colleague we hope to work with. Talya is a true inspiration and role model.”

Ed Cervone, Educate Maine’s executive director said, “We have a wonderful opportunity to highlight and showcase Maine’s exemplary teachers. The goal is to build a statewide network of teacher leaders and Talya Edlund exemplifies innovative student-centered teaching and high-quality instructional practices.”

This year’s selection began with an online public nomination process and included recognition at the county level. In addition to Edlund, the other 2016 state finalists included Brenda LaVerdiere, fourth grade teacher at Academy Hill School in Wilton and 2015 Franklin County Teacher of the Year and Mia Morrison, English teacher and media interventionist at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft and 2015 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year.

As the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year, Edlund will travel throughout the state to advocate for teachers, students and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, careers and civic life.

Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education, administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness and increased education. Funding is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger and Hannaford with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.

The Teacher of the Year program has no cost to taxpayers at the local or State level. Bangor Savings Bank reimburses the winning educator’s school district for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is away from the classroom on their official duties, which also includes several national forums with other state winners, a week at NASA Space Camp and a visit to the White House.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit www.maine.gov/doe/toy/. For more information about Educate Maine, visit www.educatemaine.org.  For more information about the 2015 County Teachers of the Year, visit http://www.mainetoy.org/.