AUGUSTA — Nominations are now open for the 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year. Members of the public are encouraged to nominate educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students at http://www.mainetoy.org through Feb. 8. 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.
Maine’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Talya Edlund, teaches third grade at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth and was selected from over 300 entries and included recognition at the county level. In addition to Edlund, other 2015 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 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.
The 2017 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 Dead River 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. 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.