Nominate an Educator or School Employee for “Life Changer of the Year”

Life Changer of the Year is an annual program recognizing K-12 educators and school employees across the country. This includes teachers, para educators, custodians, secretaries, principals, lunch personnel, school nurses, guidance counselors, anyone who is employed by a K-12 school district. It is easy to nominate someone. Anyone can nominate up to 3 employees. Our program celebrates those who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019-2020 Program.

We all know teachers and school district employees who inspire us and go above and beyond for their students. They could be a physical education teacher who started a nonprofit to teach students about art and music, an administrator who visits the homes of students in need, or a maintenance worker who fundraises for school programs. These educators and school employees are Life Changers, and we’re here to help you honor them.

Life Changer of the Year is sponsored by the National Life Group and the National Life Group Foundation. Since its inception in 2006, the goal of the National Life Group Foundation is to do good in the communities in which we live and work by supporting nonprofit and educational organizations.

Awards include:

  • 1 Grand Prize Winner: $10,000 to be split between a $5,000 individual cash reward and a $5,000 donation to the winner’s school/district.
  • 4 Grand Prize Finalists: $5,000 to be split between a $2,500 individual cash reward and a $2,500 donation to the winner’s school/district.
  • 10 Life Changer Awards: $3,000 to be split between a $1,500 individual cash reward and a $1,500 donation to the winner’s school/district
  • 30-35 Honor Roll Awards: $50 Visa gift card to the nominee, as well as some surprise goodies.

For a complete list of awards go to https://www.lifechangeroftheyear.com/awards

To nominate someone, go to https://www.lifechangeroftheyear.com/how-it-works

Nomination Deadline: December 31st, 2019

Maranacook Educator’s Research Published for Teachers

ShaneGowerMaranacook Community High School teacher Shane Gower researched the life and service of Corporal Millard W. Corson as part of Memorializing the Fallen — a teacher professional development program from National History Day®. In honor of Veterans Day, Mr. Gower’s eulogy and profile of Corporal Millard W. Corson will be published at NHDSilentHeroes.org. In addition, a lesson plan inspired by the Silent Hero, The Ethics of Shell Shock Treatment: A Socratic Seminar in History and Psychology, is on the World War I page of National History Day’s website and will be featured in the upcoming publication, Great War, Flawed Peace, and the Lasting Legacy of World War I.

Sponsored by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the Memorializing the Fallen program takes educators on the journey of a lifetime to rediscover the history of World War I and invigorate its teaching in America’s classrooms. By researching the story of a Silent Hero®, an American service member who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I, program participants can be the voice of these Americans who died a century ago.

In July 2018, Gower joined nine other extraordinary educators as they traveled through Europe, walking in the footsteps of history. Using their research, teachers created lesson plans, Silent Hero profiles, and eulogies now published on NHDSilentHeroes.org.

Designed to reinvigorate the study of World War I in American classrooms, the lesson plans are multi-disciplinary. Using primary and secondary sources, videos, and hands-on activities, students are transported into the past to examine the war and its legacies, which transformed the history of twentieth century.

“This partnership with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library has allowed us to take extraordinary educators to battlefields and memorials of Europe,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Their unique experiences will now help teachers bring history to life with the materials they produced for use in classrooms around the world.”

Each lesson plan is based on solid scholarship, integrated with Common Core Standards, and makes use of interpretive materials. They are accompanied by research about Silent Heroes of World War I who are honored at cemeteries in Europe.

About National History Day®:

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by, HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Crown Family Foundation, The Better Angels Society, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.

About National History Day in Maine:

NHD in ME is based in Skowhegan and affiliated with the University of Maine and the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation. This year’s regional contests will be in Lewiston (March 6) and Bangor (March 28). The state contest will be at the University of Maine on (May 2). For more information visit www.mcslibrary.org/national-history-day-in-maine/ or contact State Coordinator John Taylor at john.m.taylor@maine.edu or 207-474-7133.

This story was provided by National History Day® and submitted by Shane Gower, Maranacook Community High School Teacher.

Yarmouth Elementary School’s Ryan Gleason keynote speaker in Haninge, Sweden

Submitted by Andrew R. Dolloff,  Superintendent of Schools at Yarmouth Schools.

On Monday, October 14, Yarmouth Elementary School principal Ryan Gleason was the featured presenter to more than 120 educators in the Haninge School System near Stockholm, Sweden.  Educators from Haninge had heard Ryan present at the annual Lives in the Balance summit in the U.S. and were eager to bring him to Sweden to share his message with their entire instructional staff.

Ryan’s presentations were based on the work of Dr. Ross Greene and other educational leaders and thinkers that include Thomas Sergiovanni and Todd Whittaker. Dr. Greene’s work on Collaborative and Pro-Active Solutions (CPS) was the main topic at this professional day. CPS is the non-punitive, non-adversarial, trauma-informed model of care Dr. Greene originated and describes in his various books, including The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings. Ryan has worked with this model in three different school districts in Maine, bringing the concepts to Yarmouth in 2016, and has been a presenter at the annual “Lives in the Balance” summit for several years.

Ten Maine Students Selected to Showcase Talents at 2019 All-National Honor Ensembles

Information for the article was provided by Patrick Volker, Music Teacher at Scarborough High School and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

During the 2018–19 school year, 10 Maine Students, along with other accomplished music students across the United States and overseas in military base schools, will join the “best of the best” across the nation for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) 2019 All-National Honor Ensembles on November 7–10, 2019, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The Maine students who received this distinguished honor are as follows:

2019 All-National Honor Ensembles, Concert Band Roster

  • Katie Callahan, Alto Saxophone 2, Mt. Ararat High School, Topsham (Teacher: Ben Cox)
  • Chase Whelan, Flute 2, Brunswick High School (Teacher: Mike Scarpone)

2019 All-National Honor Ensembles, Symphony Orchestra Roster

  • Darien Gillespie, Oboe 2, Brunswick High School (Teacher: Mike Scarpone)

2019 All-National Honor Ensembles, Mixed Choir Roster

  • Mirabella Driscoll, Alto 2, Brunswick High School (Teacher: Ashley Albert)
  • Rachel Dumont, Soprano 1, Brunswick High School (Teacher: Ashley Albert)
  • Toby Laber-Smith, Tenor 1, South Portland High School (Teacher: Michelle Snow)
  • Hannah Liscord, Alto 1, Maranacook Community High School, Readfield (Teacher: Drew Albert)
  • Sophie Patenaude, Soprano 2, Poland Regional High School (Teacher: Julia Edwards)
  • Spencer Soule, Tenor 2, Richmond Middle/High School (Teacher: Virgil Bozeman IV)
  • Cora Stewart, Alto 2, Scarborough High School (Teacher: Patrick Volker)

“I didn’t anticipate that I’d make it into Nationals- but the moment that I found out I did is one of the happiest moments of my entire life. This is one of the biggest opportunities I’ve had, and it’s an insane honor to even be invited to participate in such a talented choir. The music is fantastic, the director is amazing, and I know it’s going to be worth all the work I’ve put into it,” said Cora Stewart who will be joining the Mixed Choir Ensemble representing Scarborough High School.

The All-National Honor Ensembles performers represent collaboration and creativity in its highest musical form. Students were chosen through a rigorous audition process. The concert band and symphony orchestra will each have 119 and 121 instrumentalists respectively, the jazz ensemble 20 instrumentalists, the mixed choir 240 vocalists, the guitar ensemble 41 instrumentalists, and the modern band 16 performers.

“I could not be more proud of [Cora’s] her accomplishments in music and I am very excited to hear this concert,” said Patrick Volker, Cora’s music teacher.

Selected students will be rehearsing a challenging repertoire in preparation for performing under the direction of six of the most prominent conductors in the United States: Tesfa Wondemagegnehu (Mixed Choir); Soo Han (Symphony Orchestra); Emily Threinen (Concert Band); Todd Stoll with Camille Thurman (Jazz Ensemble); Bill Swick (Guitar Ensemble); and Scott Burstein (Modern Band). All conductors have received top honors in their field and will spend several days rehearsing with students before the concert.

Names, schools and states, as well as music directors, of the All-National Honor Ensemble students are available on the NAFME Website.

Four Maine Teachers Receive Presidential Excellence Awards in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering

FROM:  White House Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 15, 2019

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). 

Awardees come from schools in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, and schools in the United States territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science 

Foundation. The individuals and organizations announced today are 2017 and 2018 Awardees. 

Presidential award for K-12 teachers  

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award given by the U.S. Government to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers of mathematics and science, including computer science. 

A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists, and educators at the State and national levels assess the applications before recommending nominees to OSTP. Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. 

Recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching: 

Maine 

Heather Dorr, Ella Lewis School 

Kirsten Gould, Buxton Center Elementary School

Priya Natarajan, Casco Bay High School 

Alyson Saunders, Dexter Regional High School 


Heather Dorr Steuben, ME | K-6, Mathematics, 2018 

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. 

Heather Dorr has taught mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science to students in fourth through eighth grades over the past 19 years. For the past three years she has taught at the Ella Lewis School. Prior to that, she taught at Trenton Elementary School for 13 years and Dixon Elementary School in Sneads Ferry, NC for three years. Heather strives to meet students where they are and lift their learning to strengthen and deepen their understanding of mathematics concepts and skills. Her students engage in meaningful dialogue by explaining their reasoning, challenging ideas, and making connections between previous understandings and new concepts. To broaden the scope of her impact on student learning, Heather mentors beginning teachers and student teachers, eagerly supports and coaches her colleagues, and advocates for students and teachers, all while serving on focus groups and curriculum committees at the district level. Heather has earned a B.S. in elementary education and her M.Ed. in educational leadership for curriculum, both from the University of Maine. She is a certified teacher of kindergarten through eighth grade and is certified as a building administrator in the state of Maine. 

Kirsten Gould Buxton, ME | K-6, Science, 2018 

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. 

Kirsten Gould has 10 years of experience in education, serving for two years as a first-grade teacher at Miles Lane School and for four years at Hermon Elementary School. Since 2015, she has worked in the Bonny Eagle School District, teaching first grade at Buxton Center Elementary School then transitioning to District Coach in Assessment for Learning in 2019. Kirsten facilitates workshops on high-impact strategies and maintains classroom connections by instructing, modeling, and reflecting on the implementation of these strategies. Her work is featured in Teaching Strategies that Create Assessment-Literate Learners by J. Beaudry and A. Stewart-McCafferty, with whom she continues to work closely. Kirsten served five years with the Maine STEM Partnership which aims to improve STEM education. She is a certified consultant for the National Writing Project, a participant of the American Geosciences Institute—ExxonMobil Exploration Teacher Leadership Academies, and a recipient of the Presidential Academic Achievement Award. She presents locally, regionally, and nationally, including at the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference and the Corwin Annual Visible Learning Conference. Certified to teach elementary school, Kirsten earned a B.S. in elementary education from the University of Maine and is currently completing a M.Ed. from the University of Southern Maine. 

Priya Natarajan Portland, ME | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017 

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. 

Priya Natarajan has taught mathematics at Casco Bay High School for the past five years. She currently teaches 10th-grade Precalculus and Algebra I and II. Previously, she taught for 12 years at Deering High School and spent four years as a founding teacher at the Boston Arts Academy. Priya has enjoyed working with colleagues all over the district in a variety of capacities, including curriculum and assessment development and the recent transition to proficiency-based instruction and assessment. She currently serves on the district-wide vertical team working on the K-12 mathematics curriculum. At Casco Bay, Priya serves as one of the 10th-grade team’s teacher leaders, facilitating the team’s work across disciplines and connecting teachers to the leadership team. She also coaches the mathematics team, works with the international Seeds of Peace program, and helps to foster collegiality and support for teachers as the school’s Faculty Wellness Coordinator. In addition, she serves as a Statistics and Calculus instructor at the University of Southern Maine. Priya earned a B.A. in mathematics from Ohio University and a M.Ed. in teaching and learning from Harvard University, in addition to graduate-level coursework at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and the University of Southern Maine. She is certified in secondary mathematics and has ELL endorsement. 

Alyson Saunders Dexter, ME | 7-12, Science, 2017 

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. 

Alyson Saunders has taught science at Dexter Regional High School for a total of 10 years. She currently teaches 10th-grade Biology, 12th-grade Advanced Biology, and 9-12th-grade STEM. In addition, Alyson has taught chemistry, astronomy, and ecology. In June of 2012, Alyson worked for The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance as an informal STEM educator. In that capacity, she leveraged out-of-school opportunities to connect youth with potential STEM pathways. Since her return to the classroom, she has used those skills to help students engage with things such as teen science cafes, and the Maine State Science Fair. By working with local government and nonprofits, Alyson connects learning to the community through projects involving stormwater management and ecosystem sampling. She has also partnered with The Jackson Laboratory on their Teaching the Genome Generation project, to bring modern biotechnology skills and genomics education to her small rural school. Alyson is on the school’s leadership team, is a department head, and has facilitated multiple high school and elementary school STEM-related activity nights. Alyson earned a B.S., summa cum laude, in biology from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a B.S., summa cum laude, in secondary science education from the University of Maine Orono. She is certified in secondary life science. 

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