Media Release: Maine DOE Announces Inaugural Class of Teacher Leader Fellows

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) launched Maine’s Teacher Leader Fellows today with an inaugural class of five extraordinary educators from across the state. Waterville Senior High School social studies teacher Jessica Graham, Fryeburg Academy national-board certified teacher James St. Pierre, Nokomis Regional Middle School Integrated Technology teacher Keith Kelley, Mattanawcook Academy mathematics teacher Sarah Krause, and national-board certified music teacher Dorie Tripp will work with Maine DOE staff to support Maine’s educators in cross-cutting, interdisciplinary concepts of civics, STEAM, and humanities.

The Teacher Leader Fellows will provide educators across Maine with weekly updates on resources and materials, host monthly professional learning opportunities, and maintain webpages with rich and informative content. To receive weekly communications and monthly professional learning around civics, STEAM, and/or humanities concepts, click here.

“Taking on this new position offers so many opportunities to engage with exactly what I love about teaching—meeting other educators, making connections with community partners, and celebrating community centered student learning. I truly believe that building strong communities and educating engaged citizens is the core mission of schools, and that civic learning happens in every grade and every content area. I am so excited to help connect, celebrate, and create with educators and learners around Maine,” said Waterville Senior High School social studies teacher Jessica Graham.

“Being a teacher leader means connecting and helping others connect. It means gathering the ideas and experiences of the teachers in the state and sharing them in manageable, practical, and efficient ways. We have such a great array of professionals whose knowledge can elevate all students, so to be one of the leaders bringing them together is a privilege,” said Fryeburg Academy national-board certified teacher James St. Pierre.

“To be a teacher you need to know the material and your students. A great teacher never stops learning and the best learning is done by teaching others. I hope, with the other Teacher Leader Fellows, to help educate others and myself until STEAM pours out of all of our classrooms,” said Nokomis Regional Middle School Integrated Technology teacher Keith Kelley.

“As a STEAM Teacher Leader Fellow, I hope to help spread important information and opportunities to the other STEAM educators in Maine. I plan to regularly provide teachers with some meaningful STEAM lessons and activities that can be incorporated into their classrooms. Additionally, as a teacher of mathematics and a fan of the arts, I would like to help others see the beauty in the world of STEAM,” said Mattanawcook Academy mathematics teacher Sarah Krause.

“I’m delighted to be working with the DOE to support Maine teachers! I look forward to working with other educators to learn, collaborate, and to create unique learning opportunities for our students,” said national-board certified music teacher Dorie Tripp.

Meet Maine’s Teacher Leader Fellows

Jessica Graham
Jessica Graham

Jessica Graham is a high school social studies teacher at Waterville Senior High School. She serves as the National Honor Society advisor and Trivia Club advisor and on the district curriculum committee. After working in museum education around the state of Maine for a decade, Jessica transitioned to classroom teaching six years ago and relishes the opportunity to build lasting relationships with students. She is passionate about civics education conceived broadly: helping students practice community in the classroom and in the wider world through conversation, action, and applied knowledge of decision-making processes. Her background in museum work leads her to approach content in an interdisciplinary and experiential way. Her greatest honor as a teacher was receiving Waterville’s annual staff Renaissance Award, a recognition bestowed by the student body.

In her free time Jessica is pursuing a PhD in history from the University of Maine, volunteers as a Girl Scout leader, and enjoys slowly converting her suburban yard into a garden retreat full of native plants and pollinator habitat.

James St. Pierre
James St. Pierre

James St. Pierre is a national board-certified teacher with thirty years of teaching experience at Fryeburg Academy where he has taught courses in English and biology and served as English department chair. In addition to his work at the secondary level, he also holds the position of Lecturer at both Granite State College and White Mountains Community College, where he has taught as an adjunct for two decades. He holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Middlebury College and has presented at state and regional conferences regarding the medium of comics. He is married with two sons and enjoys making comics in his free time.

Keith Kelley
Keith Kelley

A Maine educator for more than 33 years, Keith Kelley is currently teaching Integrated Technology. Having taught Language Arts, Social Studies and serving as the School Librarian, he is now teaching IT at Nokomis Regional Middle School. His students make Robots, Skateboards, 3D print, and build Guitars. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education at UMaine. He has coached soccer, track, and various tech camps. In his free time, he enjoys riding around in his classic mustang with his wife and dogs.

Sarah Krause
Sarah Krause

Sarah Krause is a graduate from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Secondary Education, a B.A. in Mathematics & Statistics, and a Minor in Zoology.

Currently, she is in her twelfth year of classroom experience with AP Calculus, Precalculus, and AP Computer Science Principles as the bulk of her teaching schedule over the years. Other teaching experiences include: Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Math Problem Solving, Linear Algebra, Advanced Topics in Mathematics (and elective that explored advanced precalculus topics). Next year she will be adding Intro to Digital Art & Design into her course load.

Sarah is currently teaching at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, Maine, where she also juggles a handful of other roles in the building. Some of those other positions include Math Team Coach, National Honor Society Advisor, Senior Class Advisor, Mentor Teacher, Mathematics Department Head, Technology Team Member, and Cohort/PLC Leader.

Sarah, is in the beginning stages of being part of the #MaineTeachesCS program as a Computer Science Integration (CSI) Educator, and back in 2019, she was a member of the Maine DOE: Mathematics Standards Writing Team.

Moving forward, Sarah is excited to be part of the Maine DOE in this new role as a Teacher Leadership STEAM Fellow with her other teammates in the Office of Innovation.

Dorie Tripp
Dorie Tripp

Dorie Tripp is a national board-certified music teacher with 14 years’ experience teaching elementary music in Maine public schools. Over the years, it has been her mission to promote music instruction that is developmentally appropriate, inclusive, diverse, and engaging. In her quest to do this, she has taken on many roles as a learner and leader. Dorie spent two terms as Vice President of the Maine Music Educators Association, contributed to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as a Design Team member, was an active member of the Maine Learning Results writing team for the Visual and Performing Arts, and co-hosted a series of PD sessions for educators during the Covid 19 pandemic. In 2021, she was awarded the MMEA Music Educator of the Year Award. In this next step of her journey, Dorie is looking forward to working with the Maine DOE. She’s excited to practice, share, and support unique learning opportunities for Maine students and educators!

To receive weekly communications and monthly professional learning around civics, STEAM, and/or humanities concepts, click here.

For more information about this or other innovative programs at the Maine Department of Education, contact, Beth Lambert, Acting Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning, at

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Announces $1.2 Million in Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) Funding to Support Education Innovation

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today awarded $1.2 million in Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) funding to support education innovation in six School Administrative Units across Maine. These funds will be used to support projects focused on workforce development, environmental stewardship, outdoor education, a marine institute, and internship opportunities as well as supporting unique approaches to remote learning.

Awardees for this second round of RREV funding include East Grand School in Danforth, Belfast Area High School, Portland School Department, Telstar High School in Bethel, RSU 22 in Hampden, and RSU 25 in Bucksport.

“Education is changing in so many new and exciting ways, and we should be at the forefront, introducing our children to the great outdoors and offering them hands-on experiences outside the classroom that will spark new perspectives, engender new friendships, and deliver new skills,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Using these federal enrichment funds, creative Maine educators can get children outdoors this summer, exposing them to lived experiences that will get them ready for life and new careers.”

“Educators in Maine are constantly paving the way with their innovation and creativity, and RREV offers a way to supercharge these efforts,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We’re excited to invest in these educator-led projects to rethink teaching and learning in ways that deepen student engagement, expand beyond the traditional classroom, connect students with Maine’s bounty of natural resources, and allow them 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. RREV is flooding Maine with innovative practices, 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.

The first round of nine RREV pilots were announced last fall with an initial investment of more than $2 million to support projects including expanded outdoor learning, a makerspace, hiring an Outdoor Learning Coordinator, expanded internships, service learning, and work/study opportunities, and engaging remote learning pathways. MSAD 17, Brewer School Department, MSAD #28, RSU 89 Katahdin Schools, Mt Blue HS/ Foster Technology School, Harpswell Coastal Academy, Noble High School, MSAD 60, St. George Municipal School Unit, and School Union #76 were all part of the first round of pilots.

“At St. George School, we dare to dream big. For over 5 years, our school community has been working to bring the trades, technology, and innovation back to the heart of public education and allow all students, grades K-8, to engage in hands-on/minds-on projects,” said St. George MSU Superintendent Mike Felton, part of the first round of RREV pilots. “The RREV Program believes in the power of local schools and communities to shape their future and isn’t afraid when a small school dreams big. RREV’s support, assistance, and encouragement will help make our dream of a St. George K-8 Career Technical Education/Makerspace Building a reality and, in the process, stretch people’s imaginations as to what’s possible in rural education and economic development.”

For more information on how to get involved in RREV and to learn more about the pilots, visit 

New Pilots:


All RREV Pilots:

Invitation to Education Leaders to Apply NOW for Maine’s Leadership Development Program  

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) invites educators to apply for a year-long professional learning opportunity. The Maine Leadership Development Program (LDP) is an initiative designed to build and strengthen leadership skills among Maine’s educational leaders. In our ongoing efforts to support and foster impactful leadership in Maine, educators who aspire to do the same are invited to take advantage of this high-impact opportunity! 

Who should apply?   

  • Current and aspiring leaders within schools, School Administrative Units (SAUs), or at the state level;  
  • Some examples of past and current participants are teachers, principals, assistant principals, department leaders, school board members, school counselors, assistant superintendents, instruction and curriculum directors, CTE directors, DOE staff, transition coordinators, school improvement coaches, and superintendents; 
  • Instructional coaches, K-12 deans of students, heads of schools, Title I directors, special education directors, English learner directors, CTE instructors and ESEA coordinators are encouraged to apply as well. 
  • If you are a leader in education in Maine, this program may be a great fit for you! 

What is the commitment? 

  • Participants will attend a fall orientation on September 30, 2021, followed by 12 two full day units (virtual and in-person). Pre-work is required for each unit;   
  • Each participant will design and develop a job-embedded action learning plan over the course  of the year. 

How is the program designed?  

  • The LDP is a nationally researched (NISL), evidenced-based, locally delivered cohort model of learning that improves the practice of leadership, transforms instruction, and focuses on increasing equity and student achievement in schools; 
  • The program is a blended learning model that includes inquiry (using research-based texts and case studies), action learning, and engaging activities and simulations with practical applications that meet the needs of leaders. Cohort members experience deep learning not only through the materials and program design, but also through lively and fulfilling content and context-based conversations with fellow participants. 
  • Upon completion of the Maine LDP, participants will be nationally NISL certified and receive a certificate for corresponding contact hours.  

I’m interested… What next? 

  • The Maine DOE encourages educational leaders to apply today for this exciting opportunity! Prior to making the commitment, please be sure to review the schedule for the 2021-2022 Maine LDP cohort, found here; 
  • To access more information, hear from past participants, and review application materials please visit:;  
  • Applications are due by August 24, 2021 and require the support of a supervisor; 
  • Half hour interviews will be scheduled after applications are reviewed; 
  • Selected participants are expected to attend a virtual half-day orientation on September 30, 2021; 
  • For more information please email  

What other opportunities are available to current or aspiring leaders?  

PRIORITY NOTICE:  Unified Guidance Regarding Executive Orders and School Personnel:  All School Services and Employees are Essential

As our state and nation face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, it is more critical than ever that Maine schools and school employees work together to provide the deeply needed services of continuity of education, communications, connectivity, payroll, other administrative activities, custodial services, transportation/deliveries,  and student nutrition. The Governor has directed SAUs to pay hourly employees for their previously contracted hours throughout the remainder of this school year, and this decision was predicated on the understanding that all school employees would continue to have important roles in limited, alternative, ongoing operations. The Department of Education has also stated that all school employees are essential.  The Priority Notice from the Dept of Education on 3/27/20 says: “All school employees are considered to be ‘essential’ under the Governor’s Executive Order #19 and should be expected to complete all duties and tasks assigned to them.”

On March 31st, Governor Mills instituted Executive Order 28 further restricting public contact and movement, schools, vehicle travel and retail business operations.  In addition, cities and towns are also putting new provisions in place, which restrict operations of non-essential businesses, new questions have arisen about the definition and what it means for public-school employees to be essential.

Although school employees are essential, their physical presence at school is not always necessary during this emergency, as there are many tasks and trainings that could be completed remotely.  In light of the Governor’s “Stay Healthy At Home” order at this critical juncture to flatten the curve, physical presence in schools should be restricted to a bare minimum in order to provide essential functions – such as providing educational and nutritional services to students, payroll, certain cleaning and maintenance staff, certain administrative assistant staff where communications cannot occur remotely, IT staff to support remote learning functions, transportation staff  – and only as long as social distancing and other CDC recommendations (including hand washing protocols) are being implemented. The fewest numbers of employees possible should be on premises, and only during the necessary time frame required for conducting such services. All functions that do not require in-person staff in schools should be done remotely.

It is possible that some hourly staff members will not have enough immediately purposeful work to do (either on site or remotely) to fill the contracted hours for which they are paid. In that case, these employees should be considered to be “on standby”, ready to assist as work does become available for them. Administrators and supervisors should determine when/if certain positions are needed to perform tasks.  While on standby, employees will continue to receive hourly wages as contracted prior to the COVID emergency.

Given the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, the Department of Education (DOE), Maine School Board Association/Maine School Superintendents Association (MSBA/MSSA), Maine Principals Association (MPA), Maine Education Association (MEA), Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) and Maine Curriculum Leaders Association (MCLA), would like to clarify the roles and responsibilities of public-school employees during this time.

  • Employees who are able and assigned by supervisors to work remotely should continue to do so, and raise any concerns they may have with their local district leadership.  Administrators and staff are encouraged to collaborate and problem-solve to foster telework options during this crisis.

  •  School employees should continue to go to work if they  must be there to perform essential functions. CDC guidelines should be strictly followed including social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people.  School employees working onsite should be kept to the bare minimum necessary to execute the functions that require their physical presence.

  • Employees  whose services are not immediately needed, as determined by supervisors, or whose work cannot be done remotely, should continue to receive their regular wages and should remain ready to perform tasks as they become necessary and assigned by supervisors.    Employees on standby leave should be ready to help schools meet their basic needs, and may be assigned to participate in a rotation of duties during this time.

  • Any  school employees who are sick, in a high risk group, or feel unsafe for any reason, should have access to their own sick leave, the new federal leave program, a district sick leave bank, if applicable, or any other paid leave that a district may be providing.

We can all take common sense steps to ensure that only staff whose physical presence is required  to provide services and who are engaged in immediately necessary services are in our schools, and that those who are in our schools are being protected by following the most current CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, hand washing, and ventilation.

We so appreciate all the work being done to help students during these challenging times.  We know our public schools are wonderful places filled with amazing, hard-working and dedicated staff.  Please be sure to take care of each other during this crisis.

Maine DOE Seeks Applicants for Paid Professional Learning Opportunity

The Maine Department of Education is seeking applications from qualified individuals interested in learning more about the competitive grant process.  Selected applicants will be trained to serve as peer reviewers who assist the Department in to reviewing, assessing, and scoring competitive grant proposals for the 21st Century Community Leaning Centers (21st CCLC) Program.  The 21st CCLC program is a federally-funded education program that provides competitive funding for schools and communities to develop before-school, after-school, and summer educational programs that support students and their families.

This year’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 21st CCLC program was released to the public on January 2 and is available online at: The Department anticipates receiving proposals from local education agencies, community-based organizations, and other eligible entities seeking awards under this RFP.


Applicants will be selected based on their experience in providing effective academic support, enrichment, youth development, and related support services for children and youth.  The most qualified candidates will be individuals who have experience in the administration of high-quality youth development programs within schools and communities.  Examples of the experienced individuals sought include, but are not limited to:

  • 21st CCLC program directors and site coordinators
  • Teachers and principals
  • College and university staff
  • Youth development workers
  • Community resource providers

Please note that an applicant or member of an applicant’s organization will not be selected to serve as a member of the Department’s peer review team.

Required Tasks:

Selected applicants will work individually to read each assigned application and create detailed, objective, constructive, and well-written comments on approximately 10-12 applications based on the criteria established in the RFP. These comments will be turned in to the Department prior to participating in on-site consensus scoring sessions.  Applicants must be able to participate in an online training webinar and review grant applications through a web-based system.  It is anticipated that selected candidates will have a three (3) week window in which to complete the individual review of assigned proposals.  Following the individual review of proposals, each successful applicant will be required to travel to the Maine Department of Education for two scheduled scoring days.  It is during these consensus scoring sessions that the peer review team to score each application.

Selected candidates must complete the following tasks during the following date(s):

Task Date(s) Time(s)
Participate in an online training webinar April 3, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Review grant applications through a web-based system and provide individual, written comments on each application (which MUST be turned in to the Department) April 6, 2020 –
April 28, 2020
Any Time
Participate in on-site consensus scoring sessions which will be located at the Maine Department of Education in Augusta, ME April 30, 2020;
May 1, 2020
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM;
9:00 AM – Finished

Compensation for Services:

Selected reviewers who complete the required tasks will be reimbursed for travel costs to and from the consensus scoring sessions as well as provided a $85 honorarium per assigned application.

Previous participants have also found that serving as a member of the peer review team is an excellent opportunity for professional development and growth. It is likely that, if selected, applicants will be exposed to new program models, strategies, and practices.  These new concepts may provide ideas and support for ongoing work as well as future grant writing efforts.  Most importantly, the time given to this effort will help ensure the funding of quality education programs for the children and families of Maine.

How to Apply:

Interested parties must contact Travis Doughty at to obtain a copy of the 2020 peer reviewer application and then return the completed application along with a current resume or CV.

Pursuant to Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, peer reviewers may not include any applicant, or representative of an applicant, that has or will submit a proposal in response to the current competition.


The Maine Department of Education will continue accepting peer reviewer applications through March 12, 2020 or until the needed positions are filled.  Interested parties are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.


For more information, contact State Coordinator, Travis Doughty at or 624-6709.