Media Release: Ever Wonder How You Can Thank That Amazing Teacher? Nominate!

AUGUSTA – As part of the Maine Department of Education’s ongoing efforts to highlight Maine’s outstanding teachers, nominations are now open for the 2020 County Teachers of the Year and 2021 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.

Nominations can be made through the Maine Teacher of the Year Website starting today, January 3, 2020 and will be open through 5:00 pm on Feb. 3, 2020.

To be considered for the County and Maine Teacher of the Year award, a person must:

  • Hold the appropriate professional certification for their position
  • Be employed by a Maine public school
  • Be actively teaching students at least 50% of full-time at the time of nomination and during the year of recognition
  • Have been teaching for a minimum of five years – three of which are in Maine
  • Remain teaching in the County for which they are selected during year of recognition

The 2020 County Teachers of the Year serve as advocates for teachers, students, and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, career and civic life. In addition, County Teachers of the Year will serve as advisors to the Department of Education and to a regional group of students who comprise the Student Cabinet and Student Advisory. The 2020 County Teacher of the Year cohort will be recognized at an event at the Hall of Flags in Maine State Capitol and at an end of the year Teacher of the Year Gala. They will also receive on-going professional learning in addition to other state and county level leadership opportunities.

Maine’s recently named 2020 Teacher of the Year, Heather Whitaker, an Alternative Education teacher at Gorham Middle School was selected from over 300 entries and included recognition as the 2019 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. In addition to Whitaker, the other 2020 state finalists include Robert Taylor, a Mathematics and Science teacher at Spruce Mountain Middle School and 2019 Franklin County Teacher of the Year, and Tom Gray a Social Studies, English, and Gifted and Talented teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School and the 2019 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

The 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected from the 16 county honorees. The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists, and then three state finalists before the Maine Teacher of the Year is announced by Maine’s Education Commissioner at a surprise school assembly in the fall.

On behalf of, and in partnership with Maine Department of Education, the Maine Teacher of the Year program is 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, Dead River Co., Geiger, Hannaford, the Maine Lottery, and Unum, with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.

Through the generous support of Maine businesses, there is no cost to the local district when the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on their official duties, which includes travel throughout the state and nation, 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 the Maine Teacher of the Year website.