Maine DOE Team member Amelia Lyons is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team campaign. Learn a little more about Amelia in the brief question and answer below.
What are your roles with DOE?
I currently wear two hats at the DOE: Migrant Education and Homeless Education. I work with the children of migrant agricultural workers, who move so their family members can work in agriculture or fishing, and we support them in their education. In Maine, the common industries we see eligible migrant students in are blueberries, broccoli, seafood processing, tipping for wreathmaking, and elver fishing. Many people confuse the word “migrant” with “immigrant” but for the purposes of our program, “migrant” just means “moving.” Any child in Maine may qualify for this supplemental support if they have moved across school district lines and have someone in the household who’s worked in agriculture or fishing. If you think you know of a family who may qualify, please reach out.
I also recently started as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education consultant. This includes supporting districts in their work with students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence, which can include students who are living “doubled up” with another family. Each district has a McKinney-Vento Liaison who is tasked with identifying and serving students who qualify. I’m always happy to talk to folks about this population as well.
What do you like best about your job?
My favorite part of my job is when we can work collaboratively to solve some problems! I like when we put our heads together with families, school staff, and community partners, and find out how to best support students in their academic journey, in a way that is culturally responsive and strengths based. An important part of my role is acknowledging the many external factors and systemic barriers that significantly impact students’ lives. This position has allowed me to work with local districts to build relationships and resources to support students’ rights.
How or why did you decide on this career?
I believe in the power of education and have seen the amazing things a single dedicated teacher can do for a child. Migrant students and students experiencing homelessness have significant funds of knowledge and have rights to the same opportunities as other students. I chose this career because I am able to advocate both for and with these populations in this role. It’s motivating for me to be learning about and working on more equitable and inclusive policies so that each student can be valued for the unique strengths that they bring. I am continually learning!
What do you like to do outside of work for fun?
Trying to keep up with my one year old is a lot of fun! I also enjoy doing anything outside this time of year, traveling, and learning about different cultures and languages.