On Friday evening, May 11th, Maine DOE honored the six state finalists for the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science (PAEMST) with a dinner held at the Maple Hill Farm Inn located in Hallowell. Shari Templeton, Maine DOE Science and Technology Specialist, and Michele Mailhot, Maine DOE Mathematics Specialist, planned the evening event honoring Priya Natarajan (Casco Bay High School), secondary mathematics finalist, Ellen Payne (Nokomis Regional High School), secondary mathematics finalist, Sharon Gallant (Gardiner Area High School), secondary science finalist, Sara McQuarrie (Hodgdon Middle/High School), secondary science finalist, Bill McWeeny (Adams School), secondary science finalist, Alyson Saunders (Dexter Regional High School), secondary science finalist.
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.
The evening began with a social networking event where past awardees had an opportunity to meet the six state finalists. This was followed by dinner, official congratulations from Suzan Beaudoin, Deputy Commissioner, Maine Department of Education, and Martha Harris, Chair, Maine State Board of Education. The keynote address was delivered by Sandra MacArthur, Director of Educational Outreach for the University of Maine Farmington, and Shannon Larsen, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at the University of Maine Farmington.
The main event of the evening was the introduction of the six state finalists. Todd Nelson, retired principal and author, spoke on behalf of Bill McWeeny, Mary Whitten, science teacher, Gardiner Area High School, spoke on behalf of Sharon Gallant, Mary Harbison, principal, Hodgdon Middle/High School, spoke on behalf of Sara McQuarrie, Steven Bell, principal, Dexter Regional High School, spoke on behalf of Alyson Saunders, Scott Shibles, Dean of Student Life at Casco Bay High School, spoke on behalf of Priya Natarajan, and Mary Nadeau, principal, Nokomis Regional High School, spoke on behalf of Ellen Payne. All six state finalists were presented with certificates from the PAEMST program by Shari Templeton (Maine DOE) and Michele Mailhot (Maine DOE).