Media Release: East End Community School Teacher Joshua Chard Named 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year

Joshua Chard, East End Community School, Portland, 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year

Chard Teaches 3rd Grade at East End Community School in Portland and is the 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Educate Maine named East End Community School third-grade teacher Joshua Chard as Maine’s 2024 Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made during a surprise ceremony with students and educators at Chard’s school in Portland.

“Joshua Chard embodies the qualities that make Maine teachers amazing, and we’re thrilled to honor him as Maine’s 2024 Teacher of the Year. Today we celebrate Joshua’s passion for teaching, his love for his students and public education, and his ability to make each and every person feel welcome and like they belong,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Colleagues, parents, and community members describe Joshua as kind, loving, passionate, generous, and someone who finds joy in the uniqueness of each human.”

Chard’s Teacher of the Year journey began in May, when he was named the 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. Along with 15 other County Teachers of the Year, Chard was selected from a pool of hundreds of teachers who were nominated. In August, he was named one of four state finalists before being selected as the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Chard is a second and third-grade looping teacher at East End Community School and the drama director at Deering High School in Portland. His approach to designing and implementing curriculum for young learners always starts through a culturally responsive lens. Joyful relationships are at the heart of everything Chard does in his classroom and he is inspired every day by the honor of lifting up and celebrating his diverse learners. During his 31-year career, he has been an educational technician, has taught fourth and fifth grade, and has been an instructional coach with a focus on mathematics. Chard is proud to teach in two of the most culturally diverse schools north of Boston, having passionately dedicated his entire career to working in high-need, urban schools, and he is excited to have a platform to share the amazing work that is happening there. Outside of school, Chard can be found participating in local theater as an actor and director and exploring Maine’s beaches and lighthouses with his husband and their grandsons.

Full Teacher of the Year Announcement Ceremony

“This recognition is about my amazing students as much as it is about me. How lucky am I to get to be inspired by these hilarious, insightful, motivated, and empathetic humans every day? They make me want to be the best teacher I can be because they deserve it, and they demand it of me. I am feeling so blessed and so seen today,” said 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year Joshua Chard.

The Teacher of the Year Program is a year-long process that involves educator portfolio and resume submissions, interviews, oral presentations, and classroom visits made by a selection panel comprised of State Board of Education members, school administrators, Maine Department of Education staff, legacy Teachers of the Year, and other Maine business partners. Chard was nominated for the honor by his principal and assistant principal.

“Educate Maine proudly administers the Maine Teacher of the Year Program, reinforcing our commitment to developing and supporting educators and uplifting the teaching profession in our state.  Joshua Chard is a thoughtful and passionate educator who has dedicated his thirty-one-year career to supporting the students and colleagues in his school community.  He is representative of the excellence that exists across our educator workforce, and we look forward to working with Joshua throughout this year as he serves as an ambassador for the teaching profession in Maine,” said Educate Maine Executive Director Jason Judd.

As the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year, Chard will spend his year of service advocating for students and teachers and speaking to the importance of education in preparing Maine students for the future.  He will also represent Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

“Joshua Chard is a phenomenal, passionate, and dedicated teacher who inspires those around him – both students and colleagues. He masterfully blends high expectations for students with the creation of warm and joyous classroom environments so that all students are supported to learn, grow, and thrive. I am beyond excited that more folks will have the opportunity to hear from Joshua moving forward and I am tremendously grateful to him for representing Maine as the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year,” said 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year Matt Bernstein.

“East End Community School is proud of Joshua Chard. He is an example of the excellent teaching and learning that happens every day at EECS, in the Portland Public Schools, and across Maine,” said East End Community School Principal Boyd Marley, one of the people who nominated Chard.

“Joshua Chard’s selection as the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year is a testament not only to him as a remarkable educator but also is continued evidence of the high caliber of the educators we are fortunate to have at the Portland Public Schools. We are incredibly proud of Joshua and very grateful for his dedication to student success, which he demonstrates daily in his teaching,” said Portland Public Schools Superintendent Ryan Scallon.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led advocacy organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Maine County and State Teachers and County of the Year Association (MCSTOYA). Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, Pratt and Whitney, the Silvernail Family, and Unum.

Read about a day with Mr. Chard and his class here.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit