MADSEC Names 2022 Honorees of the Year

MADSEC (Maine Administrators for Services for Children with Disabilities) has named their 2022 Honorees of the Year for Special Education Administrator of the Year, Special Education Professional of the Year, and Special Education Support Staff of the Year. This year’s honorees will be celebrated at MADSEC’s annual Awards Dinner at Sugarloaf Resort and Conference Center on June 22, 2022.

This year’s Special Education Administrator of the Year honoree is Gene Kucinkas, the Director of Falmouth Public Schools. MADSEC’s Administrator of the Year is considered based on outstanding contributions to education and/or success as a special education administrator, demonstration of endeavor to grow professionally by attending workshops, conferences, graduate classes, and seminars, involvement in the community, and involvement in regional/statewide efforts through MADSEC and other professional organizations.

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Gene Kucinkas, MADSEC 2022 Special Education Administrator of the Year

This year’s Special Education Professional of the Year honoree is Angela Wright-Bouffard, a teacher in MSAD #52. MADSEC’s Professional of the Year is recognized for outstanding contributions to education and/or success as a special education professional, demonstration of an awareness of current educational developments by utilizing programs which are viable, innovative and successful, demonstration of endeavor to grow professionally by attending workshops, conferences, graduate classes, and seminars, involvement in the community, involvement in writing grants and implementing new programs, involvement on school committees and demonstration of leadership role, and involvement in staff development for regular and/or special education staff.

woman in glasses smiling
Angela Wright-Bouffard, MADSEC 2022 Special Education Professional of the Year

This year’s Special Education Support Staff of the Year honoree is Jennifer Irish, a Special Education Consulting Teacher in MSAD #72. MADSEC’s Support Staff of the year is recognized for outstanding contributions to education and/or success as a special education support staff, demonstration of an awareness of current educational developments by utilizing programs which are viable, innovative and successful, demonstration of endeavor to grow professionally by attending workshops, conferences, and seminars, involvement in the community, involvement on school committees and demonstration of leadership roles, and involvement in staff development for regular and/or special education staff.

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Jennifer Irish, MADSEC 2022 Special Education Support Staff of the Year

Please join us in congratulating MADSEC’s 2022 Honorees of the Year: Gene Kucinkas, Angela Wright-Bouffard, and Jennifer Irish!

For more information on nominating educators for these awards, please visit MADSEC’s website.

Media Release: Maine Department of Education Awards $2.5 Million in RREV Funding to Support Education Innovation

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today awarded $2.5 million in Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) funding to support education innovation in twelve school administrative units (SAUs) across Maine. These funds will be used to support educational research and design projects focused on alternative education strategies, interdisciplinary/experiential learning, environmental stewardship, Wabanaki culture and heritage, outdoor education, and internship opportunities, as well as supporting unique approaches to remote learning.

Awardees for this third round of RREV funding include Lee Academy, Brunswick, RSU 21 in Kennebunk, Maine Indian Education, RSU 1 in Bath, Brewer, RSU 71 in Belfast, MSAD 6 in Bonny Eagle, RSU 25 in Bucksport, Falmouth, RSU 20 in Searsport, and Kittery. The first round of RREV investments were made last fall, a second round in March, and total RREV investments now near $6 million.

“RREV investments help fuel educational research and design and the innovation and creativity of Maine educators,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We’re excited to invest in these educator-led efforts to deepen student engagement through interdisciplinary learning, expand learning beyond the traditional classroom to include the outdoors and environmental stewardship, explore Wabanaki culture and heritage, expand alternative education strategies, and allow students to explore career paths that fuel their passions.”

The Maine DOE was awarded $16.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rethink K-12 Education Models Funding. As one of 11 States to receive funding, Maine created RREV to support the work of visionary educators to develop innovative pilot programs around remote and outside of the classroom learning, including professional development and pilot design classes. Courses in innovative design process are available through several of Maine’s public and private universities at no cost to Maine educators who wish to participate. In addition to the innovative pilot development classes, the Department is also offering asynchronous, innovative principles webinars which are available to all educators in self-paced, independent modules.

“RREV has not only helped us to reinvent how we deliver instruction but how we look at changing education as a whole,” said Renita Ward-Downer, Director of Instruction in Brewer.

“Maine Indian Education’s RREV pilot project will allow us to build a connected and immersive, community-based middle school experience that empowers students to always put first their Wabanaki knowledge,” said Beth Clifford, Curriculum Coordinator for Maine Indian Education. “We are eager to develop place-based and project-based educational experiences that connect learning and communities to increase student engagement and academic outcomes, promote partnerships and collaboration, and deepen our understanding of the world around us. Wabanaki history, culture and life will be a core element of programming.”

For more information on how to get involved in RREV and to learn more about the pilots, visit https://www.maine.gov/doe/rrev.  View the map of all RREV recipients.

Updates on Implementation of New Chapter 115 Regulations

In an effort to keep the education field apprised of implementation progress on Chapter 115 regulations, the Maine DOE certification team wanted to provide the following updates.  Please remember the new regulations begin this Friday, June 10th.

  • Seventy-two different endorsements have already been created and tested and are ready for application submission beginning Friday.  Other endorsements have been created with new regulations and are in the testing phase, while even more are being created.  The plan is to hopefully have all endorsements prepped for application submission for Friday.
  • New PDF support documents that outline requirements for both conditional and professional certifications have been created for every endorsement and are currently undergoing review.  Those will begin being uploaded to the certification website on Thursday, June 9.
  • Enhancements to the website for clarity are currently underway.
  • Communications to the certification office have increased substantially and we have assisted roughly 3,000 educators each of the last two weeks through various channels.  Please be sure to take advantage of the supports we have and are enhancing on the website to help us process applications as quickly as possible.

Apply Today for the 2022 Maine ELO Conference August 15-17

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Jobs for Maine Grads (JMG) are partnering to offer a 3-day, 2-night Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) conference hosted at University of Maine Orono on August 15th through the 17th. All Maine educators focused on expanding access to ELO programming are encouraged to complete the linked interest form.

This conference is designed to equip educators with the skills and facilitated planning time to build or expand quality ELO programming for Maine high school students. ELOs are hands on credit bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom with an emphasis on community-based care.

All conference events, meals, and housing will take place at the University of Maine at Orono.

At the end of the conference, you will:

  • Understand the history and context of ELOs in Maine
  • Be ready to build (or build upon) your ELO programs
  • Understand the various levels of support and training available to you
  • Understand the components of a high-quality ELO program
  • Have connected with a strong network of professionals in the field
  • Be energized by the transformational nature of this work

For more information, please reach out to elo@jmg.org or visit https://jmg.org/models-strategic-initiatives/elos

To apply, please fill out this form.

Seeking Five Distinguished Educators for MLTI Ambassador Positions

Are you passionate about professional growth and technology? Do you want to make a difference in Maine schools? Are you currently teaching in a Maine public school? This might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for! 

The Maine Department of Education is hiring five distinguished educators to join our team in supporting MLTI 2.0 professional learning. These are full-time, two-year, contracted, remote positions. The MLTI distinguished educators will provide instructional technology coaching directly to MLTI participating schools and work closely with the MLTI team to implement the MLTI 2.0 program. Ideal candidates will be excited about instructional coaching and innovative technology practices in education, eager to work with other teachers, have outstanding communication skills, and experience with upper elementary, middle, and/or high school pedagogy. 

Distinguished educator positions are set up as an exchange agreement between the Department of Education and your local school district. Through the agreement, the Department pays your local school for the duration of your contract as a distinguished educator, allowing your school to temporarily fill your vacant position and continue to pay you your current rate while you work as a distinguished educator. Once the two-year contract is complete, you will be able to return to your position within that district. 

Still have questions? Contact the Digital Learning Specialists at the Maine Department of Education to learn more: Jonathan Graham, Elementary Digital Learning Specialist at jonathan.m.graham@maine.gov or Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science and Secondary Digital Learning Specialist at emma-marie.banks@maine.gov.