Teacher Appreciation Week: Maine DOE Staff Recognize Teachers Who Have Positively Impacted Their Lives

During a regular Maine Department of Education (DOE) conference call that hosts more than 125 staff members each week, staff were invited to share the name of a teacher who has positively impacted their lives as a nomination for a random drawing for a gift card for Teacher Appreciation Week.

The drawing normally goes to a DOE staff member as part of the Maine DOE’s weekly all staff meetings but instead this week, the Department is awarding an educator from the names that were nominated by staff members. We would also like to the opportunity to acknowledge all of the teachers that were nominated.

In addition to deeply impacting the lives of their students, teachers also have a tremendous impact on the adults around them, whether it is the family and extended family of their students or through the mentorship and encouragement of their colleagues, administrators, and their own friends and family members. That is why we felt it was important to acknowledge the group of educators listed below for positively influencing the lives of Maine DOE staff members either where they currently teach or a previous setting. #Thanks4TeachingME

The Maine DOE also recognizes and thanks all teachers in Maine for their tireless efforts and dedication to educate Maine’s students.

Susan (Muzzy) Martin – DOE Teacher Appreciation Raffle Winner!
formerly of Gilbert School, now at Cornville Charter School

Beatrice Stevens, former educator
Once taught at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, Maranacook Area Schools/RSU #38

Susan Dana, Spanish Teacher
Cape Elizabeth Middle School, Cape Elizabeth Schools

Janice Smith, English Teacher
Brunswick High School, Brunswick School Department

Lawrence Peters, RTI Behavior Teacher
Greely High School, MSAD 51

Caitlin Keating, Special Education
Coastal Ridge Elementary School, York School Department

Sue Whitney, 5th Grade Teacher
Manchester Elementary School, Maranacook Area Schools/RSU #38

Paige Fournier, Special Education Teacher
Freeport Middle School, RSU 5

Jenna Zemrak, 2nd Grade Teacher
Belgrade Central School, RSU 18

Patty Mullis, Classroom Teacher
Nokomis Regional High School, RSU 19

Linda Vitale, former educator
Once taught at Albion Elementary School, MSAD 49

Andrea Wilson, 3rd Grade Teacher
Harriet Beecher Stowe School, Brunswick School Department

Heidi Corliss, Choral Educator
Hampden Academy, RSU 22

Elizabeth Ross, Math Teacher
Monmouth Academy, RSU 2

Jennifer Lagasse, 3rd Grade Teacher
Ellsworth Elementary School, Ellsworth School Department

Margaret Corral, Spanish Teacher
Greely High School, MSAD 51

Marshalyn Baker, former educator
Once taught at Messalonskee Middle School, RSU 18

Laurie Stiles, Classroom Teacher for Grades 6-8
Nobleboro Central School, AOS 93

Melissa Allen, Art Teacher
Spruce Mountain Middle and High School, RSU 73

Claudette Brassil, former English Teacher
Mt. Ararat High School, MSAD 75

Tara DiVincenzo, 4th Grade Teacher
Coastal Ridge Elementary School, York School District

Edwin “Barry” McLaughlin, former educator
Once taught at Katahdin High School

Arlo Smith, former educator
Once taught at Perry Elementary School

Theresa Cerceo, District Art Teacher
MSAD 33

Erica St.Peter, Principal
James Bean Elementary School, RSU 18

Mark Stubbs, Functional Life Skills Teacher
Edward Little High School, Auburn School Department

Gary Clendening,
Hall-Dale High School, RSU 2

Mildred Brown, former educator
Once taught at a one room school house on the Frenchville Road outside of Patten

Kayanne Nadeau, Classroom Teacher
Fort Kent Elementary, MSAD 27

Kellie Irving, Preschool special education teacher
PATHS in Portland

Sue Perkins, Science Teacher
Brunswick High School, Brunswick School Department

Craig Borgerson, former educator
Once taught at Owls Head Central School, Owls Head

Cindy Williams, Adult Education Instructor
RSU 6

Pat Jacobs, educator
Turner Elementary School

Jennifer Poulin, Pre-K Teacher
Saco School Department

Allison Desjardins, 1st Grade Teacher
Governor John Fairfield School, Saco School Department

Helen Beesley, Middle School ELA Teacher
Windsor Elementary, RSU 12

Dot Bowie, Kindergarten Teacher
Williams-Cone Elementary School, MSAD 75

Eric Brown, Science Teacher
Lawrence High School, MSAD 49

Larry LaPointe, English Literature Teacher
Gardiner Area High School, MSAD 11

Karen Mayo, 4th Grade Teacher
Williams Elementary, RSU 18

Kristie Houghton, 2nd Grade Teacher
Great Salt Bay School, AOS 93

Heidi Bourgeois, Literacy Coach
RSU 3

Karen Magnusson, Physical Education Teacher
Maranacook Community Middle School, RSU 38

Laurie Dale, Science Educator
Cony, Augusta Schools

Crystal Cyr, Classroom Teacher
Tripp Middle School in Turner, MSAD 52

Lisa Weeks, PreK Program
Somerville Elementary School RSU 12

Carly McKeil, PreK Program
Somerville Elementary School, RSU 12

Tara Morse, PreK Program
Somerville Elementary School RSU 12

Rick Wilson, Community Outreach and Extended Learning Coordinator
Brunswick High School, Brunswick School Department

Amy Gammon, educator
Dirigo Elementary School, RSU 56

Whitney Williams, Science Teacher
Central Aroostook Middle School, MSAD 42

Jeanna Carver, PreK Teacher
Jonesport Elementary School, Union 103

Alison Hinkley, educator
Lyman Moore Middle School, Portland Public Schools

Andrea Levinsky, Extended Learning Coordinator
Portland High School, Portland Public Schools

Jen Dearborn, Special Education Teacher
Gardiner Middle School, MSAD 11

Judy Mank, Music Teacher
Monmouth, RSU 2

Paige Fournier, Special Education Teacher
Freeport Middle School, RSU 5

Ashley LaCroix, Technology Integrator
Brunswick School Department

Dr. Carol Russell, former educator

Sarah Lucas, former educator
Once taught at TC Hamlin School

Hannah Boss, Kindergarten Teacher
Leroy H. Smith School, Winterport, RSU 22

Maria Cyr, Grade 6 Teacher
Oxford Elementary, Oxford Hills School District

Johanna Bridges, Spanish Teacher
William S. Cohen Middle School, Bangor Public Schools

Anne Mourkas, Math and Science Teacher
James F. Doughty School, Bangor Public Schools

Kelly Horton, Pathways
Falmouth High School, Falmouth Public Schools

Megan Cociou, educator
Augusta School Department

Karyn Bussell, Health Education Teacher
Madison Area Memorial High School, MSAD 59

Samantha Person, Physical Education Teacher
Waterboro Elementary School, RSU 57

Christine Rasmussen, Special Education Teacher
Waterville Senior High School, AOS 92

MEDIA RELEASE: Governor Janet Mills Kicks off Teacher Appreciation Week with a Special Message

Governor Janet Mills is helping to kick off a week-long celebration of Maine educators for Teacher Appreciation Week. Celebrated May 4th through May 8th this year, Teacher Appreciation Week is observed nationally, and is a time when all are encouraged to take a moment to thank teachers for all they do to positively impact the lives of students and families.

“This is national Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to recognize the significant contributions our teachers make to public education and honor their commitment to the success of Maine students,” said Governor Mills in a special video message. “On behalf of the people of Maine, I want to thank all teachers for dedicating their careers to providing our students the foundation for greater opportunity and lifelong learning.”

The Governor and the Maine Department of Education are encouraging families and students across Maine to join them by sending letters, cards, and social media posts to thank and acknowledge the dedicated teachers in their lives.

“We have never been prouder of the Maine educators who have been serving students in countless innovative ways during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner of Education Pender Makin. “Teachers are working harder than ever before, and I can’t think of a better time for families around the state to applaud their tireless efforts to educate Maine students under some of the most challenging circumstances we’ve ever experienced.”

Join us as this week by taking a moment to thank your teacher for all their hard work! If you are posting on social media be sure to use the hashtag #Thanks4TeachingME, and tag the Maine Department of Education at @mdoenews (Twitter) at @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 (Facebook) the Maine DOE the Maine DOE will help share your message.

MEDIA RELEASE: In Celebration of School Lunch Heroes Day, Maine’s Governor and Department of Education Release Special Thank You Video

(Photo: Nutrition staff from Connor EUT School)

In recognition of May 1, 2020 being designated National School Lunch Heroes Day, Governor Janet Mills and the Department of Education have created a special thank you video for school nutrition teams, volunteers and all school staff across Maine, who have stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure Maine kids have nutritious and healthy meals while learning remotely at home.

Your efforts during this unprecedented time of need are truly appreciated! THANK YOU!

Maine Community College System Students Honored

Congratulations to the seven Maine Community College System students that were honored as the 2020 Students of the Year this week in a special online presentation.

A recording of the presentation is available on the MCCS Vimeo and YouTube channels. (https://vimeo.com/410716701 and https://youtu.be/y7PU6Ahclmc)

The students were selected by faculty and staff at their college for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. In addition to being named Student of the Year, each student received a John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000. The Lapoints both served as trustees of the Maine Community College System. After John’s death in 1995, Jana Lapoint helped establish the fund for the annual awards.

“I know how proud (John) would be of all of you. We both would encourage you to never give up, keep pursuing your dreams, never accept it can’t be done, and always give back to society whenever and whatever you can,” she told the students. “You all have my deepest respect and admiration for all your accomplishments.”

Thank you to Maine State Board of Education member, Jana Lapoint and her late husband John Lapoint for their on-going dedication to celebrating and encouraging the accomplishments Maine students and educators, and for their tireless efforts on behalf of Maine’s education system.

2020 MCCS Students of the Year:

Marcel ChalouMarcel Chalou
Northern Maine Community College
Residence: Easton
Major: Water Treatment Technology
Career goal: Water treatment operator
Marcel grew up in Northern Maine, enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps directly out of high school, and had a 10‐ year career as a police officer. He moved back to Maine to raise his children and enrolled at NMCC to change careers and provide financial security for his family. An internship at Presque Isle Utilities District led to a full‐ time position as a water treatment operator and lab technician.

Clinton DakinClinton Dakin
Washington County Community College
Residence: Stockton Springs
Major: Engine Specialist
Career Goal: Heavy equipment maintenance
Clinton started at WCCC in 2018 and has since graduated from the powersports equipment/small engine technician and heavy equipment maintenance certificate programs, and earned his associate degree in mechanical technology. This spring he’ll earn an engine specialist certificate and plans to return this fall to study welding. He plans to enter the workforce and find employment in a heavy equipment garage close to home.

Kate McPhersonKate McPherson
Central Maine Community College
Residence: Litchfield
Major: Computer Technology
Career Goal: Mental health provider via technology
Kate chose CMCC because it was close to home, enrolling in general studies while she considered her career options. She is President of Phi Theta Kappa and works in CMCC’s IT department. Her goal is to combine her interest in psychology and skills in computer technology to help bring mental healthcare to those who can’t leave their homes. She plans to transfer to UMA to continue her education in technology.

Mason PetersonMason Peterson
Kennebec Valley Community College
Residence: Waterville
Major: Liberal Studies
Career Goal: Storyteller

Mason enrolled at KVCC as an affordable way to restart their goal of furthering their education. Mason is Founder of the Pride Alliance at KVCC, President of the Student Senate, a writing tutor, and a homeless shelter, Planned Parenthood, blood drive, and Maine Film Festival volunteer. Mason has been accepted at Amherst College and plans to pursue career options that include reading, writing, filmmaking, storytelling and more.

EthanPrebleEthan Preble
Eastern Maine Community College
Residence: Birch Harbor
Major: Human Services
Career Goal: Human services professional
Ethan chose to attend EMCC because it was affordable. He is described by others as a strong leader and advocate for disadvantaged students. He organized a suicide prevention fundraiser, worked with residential life to create a new RA position, and was a valued member of the college’s business office. After graduating, he plans to pursue a career in human services.

Billy SusantoBilly Susanto
York County Community College
Residence: Berwick
Major: Computer Science
Career Goal: Software engineer
Billy says he quickly overcame any fears he had of succeeding in college by getting out of his comfort zone and getting involved. He excels academically, is President of Phi Theta Kappa, a math tutor, a student ambassador, a member of the YCCC soccer club and served on the YCCC Presidential Search Committee. He plans to continue his education at USM to study computer science with the goal of becoming a video gaming software engineer.

Liam Woodworth-CookLiam WoodworthCook
Southern Maine Community College
Residence: South Portland
Major: Liberal Studies/English concentration
Career Goal: Literature‐related field
Liam was looking to further his education and chose SMCC because it gave him an affordable way to start. He has excelled academically and worked on the student newspaper, the student literary magazine and in The Captain’s Cupboard on‐campus food pantry. He will graduate in May and plans to continue his education in the field of writing and/or literature, while he considers his many career options.

MEDIA RELEASE: MDI and Camden Hills High Schools Named Green Ribbon Schools by U.S. DOE

Green Ribbon Schools are honored for reducing environmental impact and costs, improving health and wellness, and offering effective sustainability education.

The U.S. Department of Education today released the names of the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.  Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor are among the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).

Camden Hills Regional High School and Mount Desert Island High School were nominated by the Maine Department of Education based on their accomplishments in the three pillars of the ED-GRS program: 1) reducing environmental impacts, such as waste, water, energy, greenhouse gases, and transportation in the areas of facilities, grounds, and operations; 2) improving health and wellness through coordinated school health, with consideration to air quality, contaminant control, acoustics, daylighting, thermal comfort, school nutrition, and outdoors physical activity; and 3) offering effective environmental and sustainability education that emphasizes hands-on, real-world learning, civic engagement, STEM connections, and green career preparation.

“With a deep appreciation for the beautiful natural resources of our great state, environmental sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint are priorities of Governor Mills and her administration, including the Department of Education,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Our schools are leading the way by providing their students with opportunities for environmental education and innovation. These students will be the future leaders and stewards of our planet, and are learning about their role, responsibilities and impact as global citizens.”

Camden Hills Regional High School (CHRHS) is a public high school located in coastal Rockport, Maine, serving 720 students in grades 9 through 12. CHRHS policies, budgeting, and its people all focus on ensuring systems that will promote and support healthy students, a healthy school, and a healthy planet. Over 77 percent of teachers incorporate sustainability education in courses.

A student sustainability group, Windplanners, with overwhelming support from district administration and the community, has worked to reduce the environmental impact of the school. Their initiatives include a major study and capital campaign to install the 100-kw wind turbine, working through one of the first power purchase agreements for high school installations in the state for a 159-kw solar array. These two installations provide 30 percent of electricity needs from on-site renewables. Working with the facilities director, students helped initiate several energy-efficiency projects that have reduced demand by another 20 percent.

CHRHS’ newest initiative involves several staff members and the Windplanners in building an organic waste management system. CHRHS installed a terraced garden on some marginal land that was considered a mowing hazard. Each year, the school designs and plants the school garden with the goal of the harvest maturing when school begins in the fall. The school is also home to an orchard and asparagus patch that produce when school is in session. Both of these initiatives have been focused on helping increase the amount of local produce that supplies the school cafeteria. Whenever possible food is locally sourced, or even comes from the school garden.

Students have access to people and resources that support their emotional growth and well-being. Camden Hills actively works to create a safe and open space for its students. The library has become a wellness area providing resources like massage chairs, therapy dogs, animal cams to view nature in action, adult coloring pages, and board games. A nature trails follows the circumference of the CHRHS campus and allows students and staff to go on walks and enjoy the beautiful woods on the campus while unplugging from the stress of school and getting exercise.

Mount Desert Island High School (MDIHS) is a rural public high school in Maine that draws 542 students from 10 K–8 schools in and around the Mt. Desert/Bar Harbor. Green and sustainability efforts are supported by school and district administrators, school board members, the school’s Environmental Concerns (Eco) team, teachers across departments, and staff, including counselors, custodians, and cafeteria staff. There is widely shared interest in the health and wellness of students and staff, support for educational experiences that prepare students to be active informed citizens interested in the changing world, and an increasing emphasis on environmental sustainability.

Decisions for the past decade have been made with environmental health and efficiency in mind. Most obvious are the 1400+ solar panels on the roof of the high school. MDI High School was the first high school in Maine to generate all of its electricity needs from on-site solar in the fall of 2019. Soon, everyone will be able to see the new electric bus parked outside with its diesel counterparts. There is an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot for staff and students to use.

In 2011, energy efficient boilers were installed when replacement of the old boilers was necessary. Two years ago, the school completed a conversion to LED lights inside school and LED “night-sky” compliant lighting in parking areas. Composting in the cafeteria started at the end of 2018–19. The school contracted with Agri-Cycle to efficiently convert food waste into electricity, fuel, fertilizer, and other beneficial products. Cafeteria staff participated in the Smarter Lunchroom program to learn additional ways to cut down on food waste. During the building renovation in 2017, filtered water bottle filling stations were installed throughout the school to reduce plastic waste and promote hydration.

An active staff wellness program is led by two teachers who challenge their colleagues each month to improve their physical and mental health through water challenges, movement challenges, morale boosters, and other activities. For many years, the nurse at MDI High School coordinated a small Wellness Fair once a year for high school staff. This has turned into a districtwide biennial Health and Wellness Professional half day held at MDIHS in March to build community, emphasize wellness, and help staff relax and rejuvenate.

During the 2019–20 school year, more than 50 percent of MDIHS students will be in at least one course that includes a focus on climate change, human impacts on the environment, and/or proposing and designing solutions for problems they identify and research.

Across the country, 39 schools, 11 districts, and five postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 27 states. The selectees include 28 public schools, including three magnet schools and four charter schools, as well as 11 nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2020 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 55 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.