Franklin County Adult Education Educator Recognized as Outstanding District Educator

Information submitted by Michael Burd, Franklin County Adult Education Technology Instructor/Integrator.

Long-time Adult Education Educator Maggie Scholl was recognized recently at an event that took place within her district.

Maggie is described as patient with a calm demeanor and the tenacity to make sure that each and every one of her students learns. She is known for maintaining positive communication with students, has a caring approach to education and a genuine interest in students.

Pleasant and collaborative with her colleagues, she contributes to the team both professionally and personally. One of her former students and a current colleague had this to say about Maggie, “I am the teacher that I am today because of great role models and this educator is definitely one of the larger role models of education for me.”

Maggie is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington where she later worked as a tutor in a program that helped veterans obtain a G.E.D. and improve their skills to go on to college. After a short stint working locally as a teacher, she left teaching to raise her children. Years later, she returned to the classroom when she accepted a position working for the Franklin County Adult Education Program in RSU 9 doing the same work she had enjoyed so much in the past. She has been teaching adult education there for more than 20 years.

Media Release: State Finalists Announced for 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year

Three Maine teachers have been announced as State finalists for the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year. The finalists were chosen from the 2019 Maine County Teachers of the Year honored earlier this year at the Hall of Flags.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program honors outstanding teachers who represent the thousands of excellent educators in Maine. Maine’s Teacher of the Year serves as an advocate for the teaching profession, education and students, and represents Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Each educator was nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education and dedication to their students. They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals, and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities.

State Finalists:

Heather WhitakerHeather Whitaker

Heather Whitaker is the alternative education teacher at Gorham Middle School and earlier this year she was named 2019 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.

Passionate about combining learning opportunities with the needs of the community, she started her school’s garden, which donates over 800 pounds of produce for the local food pantry each year. She also was a founding member of the Gorham BackPack Program, which provides students in her community, experiencing chronic hunger, with food over the weekend. Her alternative education students are active volunteers for both programs.

Whitaker is an advocate for and experienced in using restorative practices and experiential learning. She believes in the power of relationships and that learning should be meaningful to students. Whenever possible, Whitaker takes students out of the classroom on educational field trips and gets them involved in community volunteering.

Whitaker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Boston College and a Master of Science in Literacy from University of Southern Maine and has been teaching for 18 years.

Rob TaylorRob Taylor

Rob Taylor started teaching in 1989.  He has spent his entire 30 year career in Maine Regional School Unit 73, teaching secondary math and science, Advanced Placement Environmental Science and also served as district Gifted and Talented Coordinator. He recently transferred to a middle school science position at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay and earlier this year was named the 2019 Franklin County Teacher of the Year.  He is an educational leader, working to implement standards via the district curriculum committee and address Maine’s teacher shortfall through participation in the Maine Math and Science Teaching Excellence Collaborative.

Taylor believes that students need to “get outside and connect to nature’. His Envirothon teams have won nine Maine Envirothon championships and were 1st in Aquatics and 6th overall at the 2018 International Envirothon.  His current school projects include greenhouse and aquaculture systems that provide produce for local pantries, participation in an American Chestnut Foundation restoration project, a drinking water monitoring program, and school renewable energy solar panel and wind turbine projects.

Taylor received a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Secondary Education from the University of Maine at Farmington and a Master of Education degree from the University of Maine.

Tom GrayTom Gray

2019 Knox County Teacher of the Year, Tom teaches Social Studies, English, and Gifted and Talented at Camden Hills Regional High School (Five Town CSD).  He has been teaching for 21 years.

As the coordinator of the school’s Intercultural Program, he has developed direct connections with educators in partner schools around the world, from China, to France, to Morocco. These school-to-school partnerships offer opportunities for students to interact and collaborate with peers in other cultures to investigate real-world problems. By leveraging technology to transcend physical limitations he prepares his students to thrive as global citizens. Gray believes in the “transformational power of adventure” for students as a way to build into education an opportunity for kids to cope with the unknown so they can discover their own agency.

In the 2019-2020 school year, Tom will pioneer a new, district-wide initiative in Innovation Engineering, in partnership with the University of Maine.

Tom is a National Board Certified Teacher.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Delaware; Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts in History from the University of Maine; Graduate Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education at the University of Maine at Farmington; and is currently enrolled in the St. Joseph’s College Master of Science in Educational Leadership program.

One of these three teachers will be named the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine. The announcement will be in October after a school site visit and final interview.

Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education, administered by Educate Maine. For more information, visit http://www.mainetoy.org.

Maine DOE Director of ESOL Selected as Finalist for US Department of State Award

April Perkins is the current Director of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)/Bilingual Programs & Title III at the Maine Department of Education (DOE). She is also one of four finalists for a prestigious national award. The English Language Fellow Alumni Impact Award “is designed to recognize and celebrate a former Fellow who has continued to use his or her fellowship experiences to positively impact his or her local teaching communities or career in TESOL in the United States post fellowship” (elprograms.org). “The winner with the most reach (likes, shares, comments) across platforms by August 12, 2019, at 5:00 PM EDT, will be selected as the award recipient.” Readers are encouraged to participate by liking, sharing, and commenting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #fellowimpact2019.

But who is April and why is she one of four finalists nationally for this award?

Prior to 2010 April taught an intensive English program at Florida Institute of Technology. A dedicated group of students from Libya inspired April to want to travel to Libya to learn more about its rich linguistic and cultural history. She applied to the English Language Fellows Program and requested Libya as her top choice. Once selected, April was stationed in Tripoli, Libya in 2010. At the Academy of Graduate Studies in Janzour, April worked as a professor of linguistics training future teachers, interpreters, translators, and linguists. At the Academy she formed close professional relationships with her students and colleagues; however, her time in Libya was cut short. Popular uprisings in the neighboring countries of Tunisia and Egypt spread into Libya by February of 2011. Along with hundreds of other Americans, April was forced to evacuate the country. Dictator Muammar Gaddafi was eventually overthrown, but the security situation in Libya continues to be unstable.

“I was heartbroken to leave the place I had fallen in love with, and the many friends and colleagues I came to know during my all-too-brief stay,” April said. Over a year later the Fellows Program reopened the post in Libya and April eagerly anticipated her return. However, only two days before she was scheduled to fly back to Libya, the Benghazi attack resulted in the deaths of several American members of the foreign service.

Though April could not return to Libya, the Fellows Program was able to place her temporarily in Tangier, Morocco, where she taught conversational English to high school students and adults. After leaving Morocco, April spent the next four years in Egypt, where she received a grant through the US Department of State and AMIDEAST. Through this grant, April taught English and trained ESOL teachers for two years at Al-Azhar University. Now a finalist, April looks back at her time abroad.

“Throughout my time in North Africa, about five years in total, I learned invaluable skills that have served me well in my current role at the Maine DOE. Not only did I hone my teaching skills, but I also learned important lessons in cultural humility, intercultural communication, diplomacy, flexibility, and leadership,” April reflected.

“April is the epitome of a leader who has demonstrated the ability to effect change through her collaborative leadership style, her solutions-oriented approach to challenges, and her passion to make a difference in the lives of students learning English in Maine,” said Chelsey Fortin-Trimble, Maine DOE ESEA Federal Programs Director.

During her three years with the Maine Department of Education she has adeptly applied her cultural and leadership skills to co-develop the Maine Seal of Biliteracy, organize and facilitate the first Title III Districts Meeting, and bring together ESOL educators from across the state to share innovative practices and unify along common goals for English learners.

Emily Darby, ESOL and International Student Programs coordinator at the Brunswick School Department had the following to say about April:

April has been an invaluable resource for me as a professional in the ESOL/TESL field. She made huge advancements for Maine’s Department of Education by having current, timely, and relevant statutes, policies, guidelines, and best practices readily available to educators throughout the state. She promptly responds to issues and concerns by having vast knowledge at her fingertips and by diligently researching the tough questions. But what I appreciate the most about April is her thoughtful and sincere approach and passion for English learners, their families, and their futures. She is a true advocate for learners and educators alike. She makes my job much easier, more enjoyable, and more respected. Most importantly, she makes the lives of English learners and their families much easier, more promising, and more personal.

April is a tremendous asset to the ESEA Federal Programs Team. She leads by example, motivates others, and is equally motivated by others, which makes her an ultimate team member.  While she flawlessly manages many responsibilities in her current role, she continues to want to refine the ESEA Team’s processes and procedures to ensure that we are providing the best possible support to districts, schools, educators, students, and families.

Traveling abroad into extraordinary circumstances prepared April to expertly support ESOL education in Maine. Her hard work is transforming a fundamental educational experience for thousands of students in our state, to say nothing of the countless students April influenced abroad. As Carlos Gómez, Director of Language Development at Portland Public Schools puts it, “In short, April is a professional, an all-star, and an incredibly dedicated public servant!” These are only a few of the reasons April is among the four finalists for The English Language Fellow Alumni Impact Award. Regardless of whether April wins the award, she has awarded the state of Maine with trailblazing projects and the DOE eagerly anticipates her next move.

RECOGNIZING GREAT EDUCATORS: Department of Education Talent Pool!

The Maine Department of Education believes that a great way to ensure a robust educator workforce is to develop and engage a network of outstanding educators as exemplars and leaders for our state.  By promoting the excellence that exists in classrooms and schools across Maine, we hope to increase the trust and respect given to educators, and encourage and support others in an outstanding career working with Maine’s students.

We are seeking recommendations for our Maine Department of Education Talent Pool.  This opportunity is for the unsung heroes who are making a difference for students, and likely will continue to expand that impact far beyond their classrooms or schools. The Department of Education hopes to connect these current educational luminaries to one another, to decision making at the department, and to other practitioners in the field. By tapping into their professional expertise and insights, and encouraging educator to educator collaboration and sharing, Maine’s learners will continue to thrive!  Those who are recommended can determine their capacity and interest in engagement, there is no expectation beyond being an outstanding educator.

Please help us in the creation of our Talent Pool, and with our continued efforts to support and celebrate the amazing work being done in classrooms across Maine every day! Recommendations will be accepted on a rolling basis, however we would like to start the school year with strong cohort in place, and encourage school and district leaders to begin the recommendation process as soon as possible.

For more information, please check out the recommendation form, or reach out to Emily Gribben at Emily.gribben@maine.gov or (207)624-6748.

 

Shana Goodall Named 2019 Maine History Teacher of the Year

Shana Goodall, a teacher at Orono High School, has been named the 2019 Maine History Teacher of the Year, an award presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K-12 American history education.

Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. The award honors one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories. In fall 2019, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners.

Ms. Goodall is a lifelong learner, as evidenced by her embrace of technology in the classroom and her continuous quest to find new, engaging ways to present material.  She earned an undergraduate degree in Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania) and graduate degrees in teaching and educational leadership from the University of Maine (Orono, Maine).  In her classroom, she creates a flexible environment for all learners to explore history while stimulating, directing, and pacing whole class instruction while at the same time encouraging independent inquiry.  Shana is noted for her sense of humor and laugh, and students view Shana as a mentor and valuable source of information and guidance.

In addition to a $1,000 honorarium, Shana Goodall’s school will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials and recognition at a ceremony at the annual fall conference of the Maine Council for the Social Studies to take place on Monday, November 5, 2019.

The National History Teacher of the Year Award will be presented by John Avlon, Senior Political Analyst and anchor at CNN, at a ceremony in New York City on October 2, 2019. Past presenters at the ceremony include the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts, First Lady Laura Bush, former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Nominations for the 2020 History Teacher of the Year awards are now open. Students, parents, colleagues, and supervisors may nominate K-12 teachers for the award by visiting gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy. The deadline for 2019 nominations is March 31, 2020.