Five Maine schools share successful educational innovative strategies

Five schools and districts were in Massachusetts last week representing Maine at a regional conference on effective strategies for improving teaching and learning in the twenty-first century.

Anita and winners
Christine Hesler, Anita Bernhardt and Chris Howell, Photo courtesy of NESSC

The schools were: Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, Foxcroft Academy, Nokomis Regional High School, Regional School Unit 2, and Windham High School. They were selected based on their exemplary work and extraordinary commitment to making sure every student has a chance to succeed and to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live.

Christine Hesler, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for RSU 14, and Chris Howell, principal of Windham High School, received 2016 educational Champion awards from the New England Secondary School Consortium for their unique contributions to the effort to raise graduation rates, lower dropout rates, and send more students on to college and postsecondary certification programs in Maine.

Hesler serves on the board of directors for the Maine Curriculum Leaders’ Association representing Cumberland County. Howell currently serves on the board of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and on the advisory board for the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Southern Maine. He has also served on the Maine Curriculum Leaders’Association and several advisory councils for the Maine Department of Education.

Maine DOE’s Director of Standards and Instructional Support, Anita Bernhardt shared, “Chris and Chris have collaborated with teachers, parents and business members to build trust that the focus on student engagement and proficiency serves the future success of RSU 14’s students.”

The High School Redesign in Action conference is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC), a state-led regional partnership committed to high school innovation. Maine DOE joins Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Departments of Education in promoting the exchange of best practices and innovative improvement strategies throughout the region through NESSC. The consortium’s goal is to ensure that every public high school student receives an education in preparation for success in college, career, and communities of the twenty-first century.

For more information about teaching and learning strategies in the twenty-first century, contact the Department’s Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome at