The Alternative Education Association (AEA) of Maine has announced that Lindsey Schortz of the Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education (BCOPE) has been named the 2021 Alternative Educator of the Year. Lindsey is the Lead Science and Math teacher in the program and has become integral to the success of the students while engaging them in their learning. The Maine Department of Education joins the AEA in recognizing the hard work and determination of Lindsey and all of alternative educators across Maine for everything they do to ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to learn.
“I love alternative education because it provides opportunities for students and teachers both,” said Lindsey Schortz. “For students who have not seen success in a traditional setting for whatever reason, it shows them that there is another way for them to learn. For teachers and students, it is an opportunity to be creative, study topics in depth and perhaps most importantly form real relationships. I feel fortunate to work at a school with such deep roots in the community and in a district that values alternative education and how it can transform a student’s educational experience.”
Colden Golann, Assistant Principal at Belfast High School, says “what separates Lindsey is her commitment to her students. She will stop at nothing to support kids and help them overcome the obstacles they are facing. Last year during school closures, Lindsey took it upon herself to visit any student who was not participating and often taught individualized lessons in driveways, porches or on breaks from student’s jobs.”
Daisy Bradney, a student in the BCOPE program described Ms. Schortz as a, “kind, caring, and very passionate about what she does….she has always been my go to person whenever something exciting happens, she is always so thrilled for our achievements…no matter how big or small.”
The AEA also recognized the other finalist for this award, Linda “Cookie” Dana of Bangor High School remarking that these great educators represent the level of excellence as determined by the National Alternative Education Standards.
The AEA will recognize both honorees and their achievements at their Annual Conference on May 28th.