Maine DOE team member Lee Anne Larsen is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Lee Anne in the question and answer below.
What are your roles with DOE?
For the past few years, I have served as the coordinator for the Early Learning Team (PK-5) in the Office of Learning Systems. In this capacity, I promote the wide range of Maine DOE efforts related to early childhood and elementary education. This work involves facilitation of and collaboration with the DOE specialists who support Maine’s PK-5 schools, Head Start programs, and early learning educators. The Early Learning Team offers technical assistance and professional learning related to many components of early childhood and elementary programming and serves as half of the DOE’s Standards and Instructional Supports team. Additionally, this role provides oversight for a variety of initiatives and grants that benefit early learning across Maine and facilitates coordination of these efforts with other Maine DOE teams, state agencies, and community-based programs. Prior to assuming this role, I spent 17 years serving as the Maine DOE’s Elementary Literacy Specialist.
What do you like best about your job?
Early childhood and elementary education provide children with a strong foundation for future learning and well-being. This role enables me to promote development of the whole child across the first 10 years of their lives. It provides opportunity to support the array of domains within child development and to work collaboratively with many colleagues across the state who share this passion. It is also energizing to engage in innovative systems thinking and problem solving that ultimately improves educational opportunities for Maine’s children.
How or why did you decide on this career?
Education has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember—my great-grandparents, grandmother, father, aunts, and mother-in-law all served in various education-related roles. Through summer jobs, I discovered the joy of helping children grow and learn which led me to teaching elementary school. While working in this capacity, I recognized the power of literacy education and began to specialize, including growing my skills in instructional leadership, coaching, and program administration. When I had the opportunity to serve as a Distinguished Educator at the Maine DOE, I realized the privilege of supporting literacy education efforts on a larger scale, especially through building relationships with educators across the state. In my current role, I help shape policy and programming that contributes to equitable and inclusive education for Maine’s children. I am energized each day by working with a team of colleagues who share this passion and appreciate being able to support their efforts.
What do you like to do outside of work for fun?
Spending time with my husband, our two daughters and son-in-law, and other family members brings me great joy. My happy place is always near the ocean! I also enjoy traveling, reading, gardening, and hiking.