VIDEO: Recognition of National School Lunch Week

In recognition of National School Lunch Week last week, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and US Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona extend their thanks to school nutrition professionals for their commitment to ensuring children are well-nourished and ready to succeed in school.

Share your thanks with school nutrition professionals at your school with free Stronger with School Meals digital thank you cards.

MEDIA RELEASE: Hampden Eighth Grade Teacher Named 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year

Kelsey Stoyanova, an 8th grade teacher at Reeds Brook Middle School has been named the 2022 Teacher of the Year by the Maine Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year Program.

In a unique event held at the Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden, the Maine Department of Education and Educate Maine named eighth grade teacher Kelsey Stoyanova Maine’s 2022 Teacher of the Year as surprised students and colleagues at the school congratulated and honored her dedication to teaching.

Kelsey’s journey began in May, when she was named the 2021 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year. Stoyanova, along with 15 other County Teachers of the Year, was selected from a pool of hundreds teachers who were nominated earlier this year. In August, Kelsey was named one of three state finalists before being selected as the 2022 Teacher of the Year.

Kelsey Stoyanova is an 8th grade language arts teacher at Reeds Brook Middle School, part of Regional School Unit (RSU) 22 in Hampden, Maine. Stoyanova has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an English concentration, a master’s degree in Education with a literacy focus, and is working toward her Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership — all as a University of Maine Black Bear.

Stoyanova is passionate about reading and helping students find an authentic love of reading through integrating a strong foundation of independent reading in her classroom. That passion really shined when she was selected as a grant recipient by the Book Love Foundation in 2020.

As an advocate for student involvement in curriculum creation, Stoyanova became the RSU22 Middle Level Language Arts Curriculum Leader, working to audit, align, and enhance the curriculum. She serves on the Equity in Education Committee where she designed and implemented the RSU22 Reads Three Reading Challenge for students and community members to participate in, thus far making a point to highlight BIPOC authors and characters, women in literature, AAPI voices, and LGBTQIA+ authors and characters.

In addition to these roles, Stoyanova is sought out as a technology enthusiast, mentor, and loves to share and design creative projects and assessments with her colleagues in all content areas. After school, you can find her going on outdoor Maine adventures with her family, or with her nose in a book which she will undoubtedly talk about in class tomorrow.

Kelsey was nominated by students, Tessa Castrucci and Stella Fox. Here are their nominations:

Ms. Castrucci “She is a really understanding teacher who plans lessons with her students in mind, making the lessons suited to fit the class and environment. If we are interested in a certain event that happened in our country, we might have a class discussion or assignment about it to encourage our interest while learning the facts. She forms meaningful relationships with her students and creates an environment that is welcoming. Along with that, I feel like I can be challenged in her class to do my best while also developing and working on skills that might be harder for me. We do this by having class discussions, creative projects, and interesting assignments. Overall, Mrs. Stoyanova is a teacher that listens to and understands her students while trying to create a space to encourage our interests and push us to be our very best.”

Ms. Fox“Mrs. Stoyanova is an amazing teacher. She makes learning fun, and she makes sure her classroom is a safe and fun learning environment for everyone to share their thoughts and interact with others. She makes sure everyone gets their work done, and she makes sure everyone understands how the work will get done. Not only is she a teacher, but she is an incredible mom, friend to her students, a person to talk to, and overall, someone you can trust. I think it goes for all of her students that Mrs. Stoyanova has had when I say that Mrs. Stoyanova is the right teacher for this award.”

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, former Teachers of the Year, and other Maine business partners.

As the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year, Kelsey will spend her year of service advocating for students and teachers and speaking to the importance of education in preparing Maine students for the future.  She will also represent Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Said Cindy Soule, Maine’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, “Kelsey Stoyonova is a powerful example of the myriad ways educators across the state of Maine impact their communities as agents of change.  As 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year Kelsey Stoyanova will shine a light on the myriad ways Maine educators impact their students and communities as agents of change. Kelsey’s unwavering belief in her students, strong collaboration with colleagues, leadership within her school and district, passion for literature and justice, and commitment to her own learning will serve her well as she advocates for and celebrates education, students, teachers, families and schools at both the state and national level. I am thrilled to learn alongside her as she embarks on this incredible journey!”

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 Maine businesses.  The program’s lead sponsor is Bangor Savings Bank.  Other program sponsors include Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, the Maine State Lottery, Unum and the Silvernail Family.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit www.mainetoy.org.

Nominate a Maine ‘Education All-Star’ for the Fenway Bowl 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is excited to share an opportunity to celebrate and highlight the amazing education workforce in Maine! The Fenway Bowl, Boston Globe Media, and partner sponsors are seeking nominations for education workforce (teachers, professors, education staff, administrators, and anyone working in education in Maine) who are making a difference.   

Please consider nominating an All-Star in Education using this quick form below: Nominate a New England All-Star in Education Form (google.com).   

Nominations are being accepted now until October 15, 2021. Three finalists from across New England will each receive a grant, courtesy of Fenway Sports Management, and will be recognized at the Fenway Bowl game in December.   

Last year, 6 Maine educators out of 29 awardees over all were recognized as All-Stars! Congratulations to Maine’s 2020 All-Stars: Monster Finalist Michael Davis (Walton Elementary School), and All Stars, Jennifer McGee (Atwood Primary), Melissa Guerrette (Oxford Elementary), Dr. Flynn Ross (University of Southern Maine), Alison Babb-Brott (St. George School), and Bill Tracy (Hampden Academy). Check out their amazing stories here. 

For more information or questions, contact Emily Doughty at emily.doughty@maine.gov.

Outstanding Portland High Student Wins College Board Recognition

Portland High School senior Rahmat Ali has been selected for the College Board National African American Recognition Program. She earned this recognition because of her remarkable academic achievements and outstanding performance on the PSAT and/or AP.

“We are immensely proud of Rahmat,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “Despite nearly two years of unprecedented learning challenges caused by the pandemic, she has demonstrated unwavering commitment to achieving academically. I also salute those who supported her in her efforts, including her Portland High School teachers and other staff and her family. We congratulate Rahmat on this well-deserved recognition and look forward to learning about her further accomplishments in years to come.”

The recognition can help with college admission because institutions of higher learning across the country know that students who have been selected for the College Board National African American Recognition Program are some of the most talented across the country.

David Coleman, CEO of The College Board, wrote in a letter to Rahmat: “We are extremely proud of all you’ve accomplished and to honor you as part of the National African American Recognition Program. We are hopeful this program helps you on your path to college. On behalf of the College Board, I celebrate your success and the brightness of all that’s ahead.”

This article is part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: Recognize Your Outstanding School Staff; RISE Award Now Accepting Nominations 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) invites students, friends, families, community members, educational organizations or associations, co-workers, and supervisors to nominate school employees for the RISE Award. Anyone can nominate!

In collaboration with Maine Governor Janet T. Mills and the U.S. Department of Education, Maine DOE is now accepting nominations for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. This federal award, passed by Congress and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, is intended to honor and promote classified school employees who provide exemplary service. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in: Work performance; School and community involvement; Leadership and commitment; Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work); and Enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and in schools.

A classified school employee is defined as an employee who works in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades (pre-kindergarten through high school).

The Maine Department of Education will put forth up to two finalists to the U.S Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education will select one finalist from across the United States to inspire excellence among classified school employees around the nation.

The deadline to submit a nomination is October 13, 2021.  Nominate today by clicking here.