Media Release: Nominations Sought for 2020 Teacher of the Year

AUGUSTA – As part of the Maine Department of Education’s ongoing efforts to highlight Maine’s outstanding teachers, nominations are now open for the 2019 County Teachers of the Year and 2020 Teacher of the Year. Members of the public are encouraged to nominate educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students.

Nominations can be made through the Maine Teacher of the Year Website starting today, January 4, 2019 and will be open through Feb. 4, 2019.

To be considered, a teacher must:

  • hold the appropriate professional certification for the position,
  • be employed by a Maine public school – including a public charter school or publicly-supported secondary school,
  • be actively teaching students at least 50% of full-time at the time of nomination and during the year of recognition, and
  • have a minimum of five years teaching, three of which are in Maine.

The eventual winner serves as an advocate for teachers, students, and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Maine’s recently named 2019 Teacher of the Year, Joseph Hennessey, an English teacher at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford, was selected from over 300 entries and included recognition as the 2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year. In addition to Hennessey, the other 2019 state finalists include Connie Russell, a teacher at Mabel I. Wilson School and 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, and Shana Goodall, a teacher at Orono High School and the 2018 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

The 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected from the 16 county honorees. The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists and then three state finalists before the ultimate winner is announced by Maine’s Education Commissioner at a surprise school assembly in the fall.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness, and increased education attainment. Funding is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River Co., Geiger, Hannaford, the Maine Lottery, and Pratt & Whitney with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.

The Teacher of the Year program is no cost to taxpayers. Bangor Savings Bank reimburses the winning educator’s school district for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on their official duties, which includes travel throughout the state, a week at NASA Space Camp and a visit to the White House.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit the Maine Department of Education website.


Media Contact: Rachel Paling, Maine DOE Director of Communications,

Online Learning Communities for Educators

Maine educators are invited to join online learning communities led by other Maine educators who will offer guidance and support for completing recognized online learning programs that are designed to develop various skills related to teaching and learning with technology. Educators can learn on their own time and at their own pace while still being a part of community of educators that are all working toward a common goal.

All of the online learning communities are free to join, though some have materials that need to be purchased in order to participate more fully.

  • Apple Teacher – iPad Badges (free)
  • Apple Teacher – Mac Badges (free)
  • Express Course (free)
  • Common Sense Educators (free)
  • Google Level 1 Certification ($10 exam fee paid to Google directly)
  • Wonder Workshop ($125 for robot and course bundle purchased with ACTEM discount)

Learn more about each of the offerings (PDF) » 

To register, please complete this online form »

Note: Most offerings start on or around Oct. 1st and have a limit on the number of participants.

All educators who earn their badge or certificate by midnight on December 2nd will be invited to join a daylong celebration and professional learning opportunity. The celebration will likely be held on Thursday, December 13th or Friday, December 14th in the central Maine area. More details will be sent directly to participants later in the fall

For more information contact, Maine DOE Digital Learning Specialist, Amanda Nguyen at

MEDIA RELEASE: State Finalists Announced for 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year

Three Maine teachers have been announced as State finalists for the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year. The finalists were chosen from the 2018 Maine County Teachers of the Year honored earlier this year.

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.

State Finalists:

JosephHennesseyJoseph Hennessey
2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, Joseph Hennessey teaches American, World, AP Literature and Composition, and Camden Conference Seminar for grades 11-12 at Piscataquis Community High School (RSU 80/MSAD 4). He has been teaching for 6 years.

ShanaGoodallShana Goodall
2018 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year, Shana Goodall teaches Social Studies, World Civilizations, AP Human Geography, and AP World History for grades 9-12 at Orono High School (RSU 26). She has been teaching for 15 years.

ConnieRussellConnie Russell
2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, Connie Russell is a 2nd grade teacher at Mabel I. Wilson School in Cumberland, North Yarmouth (MSAD 51) and has been teaching for 27 years.

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.

The three teachers are in the running for 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine. In October, Maine’s 2019 Teacher of the Year will be selected 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 the Maine DOE Website.

Registration for Student Learning Objectives Training Now Open

The Maine Department of Education is once again proud to offer Student Learning Objective (SLO) training to school administrative units (SAUs) to help support the development and refinement of Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems.

For the 2018-2019 school year, Maine DOE has continued its partnership with the Northeast Comprehensive Center to offer training and support to effectively implement these important measures of student learning and growth.  This training will take place at the Burton M. Cross Building in Rooms 103A and 103B on September 10, 2018 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM.

SAU teams and other key staff who lead and support SLO work as a part of PEPG systems can expect to receive:

  • Research-based approaches to SLO implementation
  • Turn-key activities to facilitate with your SAU
  • Electronic resources to support districts in their SLO implementation

Topics to be addressed at the event include:

  • Determining SLO Quality
  • Navigating an SLO Process
  • Deciding on Learning Content
  • Setting Growth Targets
  • Developing Quality Assessments

Register for the Student Learning Objectives Training

Please note, additional trainings for the 2018-2019 school year are currently under development.  As these trainings are added, information will be distributed to districts.

For more information, please contact Emily Gribben, Educator Effectiveness Coordinator at

New ESEA Report Cards & STEM Technology Showcase to be Featured at 2018 Commissioner’s Conference; Register Now

As a reminder, registration for the 2018 Commissioner’s Conference is now open. The conference features an array of sessions catered toward superintendents. This year’s sessions include opportunities to:

  • Get a sneak peak at the new ESEA Report Card dashboard
  • Ask questions and talk about ESSA, and School Improvement
  • Learn more about the budgeting process for Title I/ESEA funds
  • Learn more about supports and resources available on topics like Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), trauma, attendance, concussion management, and substance abuse
  • Learn more about Certification, including updates about the new online system
  • Learn more about Department initiatives and goals including: pilot programs for early math and literacy, CTE programing and funding, and regionalization opportunities
  • Participate in open forums on the teacher shortage, and on educator effectiveness
  • Listen to panels about workforce development, and about workforce needs and CTE
  • Get hands on experience with current STEM technology at a showcase brought to you by the Maine State Library

See a draft agenda, including session descriptions.

In addition to this year’s breakout sessions, Commissioner’s Conference participants also have the opportunity to enjoy the following celebrations:

  • The Annual Reception Hosted by Apple, Inc
  • An Evening Banquet Dinner
  • Maine School Management Association’s Annual Awards Ceremony

The conference takes place at the Augusta Civic Center on June 27th and 28th.

Find additional resources and information including pricing, the draft agenda, lodging options, further details about registration including guest registration, and more on the Maine DOE Commissioner’s Conference webpage.

Register now »