Department of Education Family and Community Needs Analysis Survey

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is inviting all families to participate in our “Family and Community Needs Analysis Survey” by October 14th, 2022.

The survey responses are confidential, and names of respondents will be anonymous. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary. This survey will ask family members questions about how COVID-19 has impacted the learning and development of their children and youth. The survey is designed to be completed within 15 minutes.

The survey responses will be used to identify additional projects and initiatives that the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds may be used to support. The ESSER funding can support activities and interventions that respond to students’ academic, emotional, aspirational, and social needs while addressing the impact of COVID-19.

Please take some time to complete the anonymous survey at

If you have questions about the survey, please contact Shelly Chasse-Johndro at (207) 458-3180 or by email at Thank you very much for your time and support. 


Media Release: Maine Department of Education Partners with Live + Work in Maine to Bolster Education Workforce Recruitment Efforts, Promote Education in Maine

The Maine Department of Education announced a new partnership with Live + Work in Maine to bolster efforts to recruit and sustain a vibrant educator workforce and to promote the work of Maine schools to support, engage, and prepare all students to thrive. Through this new partnership, all school administrative units (SAUs) now have free access to Live + Work’s online job board, and will benefit from the extensive marketing activities Live + Work facilitates in order to attract educators and school staff to join Maine’s education workforce.

With Live + Work in Maine’s singular focus of celebrating and promoting the unique advantages and opportunities of living and working in Maine, the partnership allows schools to expand recruitment efforts on a platform with a strong Maine brand while creating a central resource for all education-related job openings in the state. The partnership will also highlight the creative and innovative teaching and learning happening in Maine schools.

“We are thrilled to partner with Live + Work in Maine to showcase the amazing teaching and learning happening in our state and provide schools with a resource to attract people to come teach and work in our schools. This partnership provides a big megaphone to let educators and prospective educators in Maine and across the country know that we are committed to creating and supporting a culture of innovation and creativity for educators, and that we want you to come live and teach here in Maine,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

“Maine’s world-class public education system has long stood out as a key competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talented people to live and work in Maine. With opportunities in every corner of our state, there’s never been a better time to attract talented folks to a career in education in Maine. We’re pleased to partner with the Maine Department of Education, and eager to help make a positive difference for Maine schools and children,” said Live + Work in Maine Executive Director Nate Wildes. 

As an employer-driven, 501c3 non-profit organization, Live + Work in Maine is uniquely positioned to provide the perspective, focus and speed that this urgent opportunity presents. Live + Work has broad reach both within and outside of Maine, with tens of thousands of job seekers visiting Live + work’s website every month, dozens of unique events and programs throughout the year, and partnerships with private employers and communities alike to grow and strengthen the Maine talent economy.

The partnership with Live + Work in Maine aligns with the Maine Department of Education’s comprehensive Teach Maine plan released earlier this year to develop, support, and sustain a robust educator workforce. The Teach Maine Plan is organized around four key themes: incentivize recruitment and retention efforts; expand and diversify educator workforce efforts; support educator development, growth, and leadership; and elevate educators and the education profession. This partnership was made possible through American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding.

Maine’s school administrative units (SAUs) can sign up for the job board here.


About Live and Work in Maine
Live and Work in Maine’s mission is to market Maine as a career destination. Through our marketing efforts, we show the world that when it comes to quality of life and career opportunities, you can have the best of both by choosing to live and work in Maine. is a robust resource for potential and current Mainers, which enables searching for employers and jobs based on lifestyle and/or geographic region within Maine. The site also includes “success story” testimonials from professionals who have relocated to Maine, details on internships and first career options for college students and new graduates, and information on the lifestyle offered by each of Maine’s eight geographic regions.

WEBINAR: Getting Started with Interdisciplinary Instruction

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) invites educators to participate in a webinar focusing on how to get started with interdisciplinary instruction.  The goal of this session is to give educators a sense of the planning process.  Although not required, educators are encouraged to come with an idea in mind.

This 60-minute workshop-style webinar will

  • Give a brief overview of what interdisciplinary instruction is and how it supports students and educators
  • Cover how to write a driving question, create a project or product, and align learning activities to MELDS/MLR standards
  • Give practical tips to get started with interdisciplinary instruction in your classroom

Additional virtual PLCs will begin in October and November for those educators who wish to continue their work.  Attendance at this workshop will not be required for the PLCs.

When: Tuesday, September 13, 2022. 3-4

Where: Register HERE to receive the Zoom link

The workshop will be facilitated by Jaime Beal, Interdisciplinary Instruction Specialist. If you have any questions, contact Jaime at

Hurricane Island Provides Hands-On Coastal Learning Experiences as Part of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative

“I need a sea urchin!” exclaimed a student as she and a handful of other students excitedly explored tidal pools for marine life to collect in buckets as part of a treasure hunt on Hurricane Island. “Who has a crab?” asked another.

Venturing over to a classroom on the Island, another group of middle school students were learning about aquaculture and the farming of scallops by retrieving spat bags from the ocean and then investigating the contents of the bags for scallops and other items that wandered or were caught inside.

After a brief snack and a stop at their bunks, the students were back together in another classroom, and out of the rain, to learn about marine debris by matching objects like fishing line, soda cans, glass bottles, newspaper, buoys, and other common items found on shore or in the ocean with how long they take to decompose.

These were just a handful of the activities that the students got to experience during their week on Hurricane Island as part of Governor Mills’ Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative. The Initiative continues to engage 1,000 middle and high school students from across Maine in hands-on, outdoor marine and coastal ecology learning programs up and down the Maine coast.

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Hurricane Island held several weeklong programs as part of the Initiative, with Maine Department of Education staff getting to visit and experience the Initiative in action with a group of middle school students from Bethel who had little to no exposure to Maine’s marine environment before this program.

For the Initiative, Hurricane Island and the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond’s NorthStar program launched a new partnership to bring thirteen seventh graders to Hurricane Island this summer. The program offered students extended opportunities for quality science learning and leadership development on the shorelines and waterfronts of Hurricane Island.

“Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership is honored to be a partner organization with Governor Mills’ Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative. It is critically important that all Maine kids have access to innovative hands-on science learning experiences along the Maine coast, and this program has empowered many non-profits like ours to expand their impact this summer,” said Bo Hoppin, the Executive Director for the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. “The launch of this exciting initiative has helped Hurricane Island reach a greater number of rural Maine youth and engage them in experiential learning on our sustainable island campus in new and unique ways.”

The NorthStar program is a hands-on mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through community engagement, cultural exchange, and adventure challenge and leadership. The experience on Hurricane Island increased students’ knowledge and appreciation of the marine environment through using the scientific process to come up with and answer their own research questions and allowed them to work with Hurricane Island’s professional research team to get hands-on marine research experience with aquaculture projects.

The students explored the intertidal zone using field research methods to collect data, investigated marine debris from microplastics to large scale shoreline cleanups, used sampling methods to collect oceanographic data both onshore and on the water, hauled lobster traps and learned about the biggest economic industry in Maine, and increased confidence and self-awareness while engaging the natural world and building connections with one another.

In addition, Hurricane Island and Gameloft, based in Belfast, designed a program for middle school students that created opportunities for experiential learning and leadership by bringing the Game Loft’s Student Leadership Team to the island to vision how to integrate more coastal engagement into all of the Game Loft’s programs and bringing a cohort of 6th graders from the Troy Howard middle school as part of a new initiative of the I Know ME program. These weeklong programs offered both groups of students extended opportunities for quality science learning and leadership development on the shorelines and waterfronts of Hurricane Island.

Hurricane Island sits in the Penobscot Bay and takes a little less than an hour to get to by boat from Rockland. While there are several classroom and lab structures and a mess hall, the Island itself is a classroom for the students and staff. The Island also has a 3-acre aquaculture farm to the north of the island where they currently grow scallops and kelp for research purposes. Students also learn about sustainability practices through their use on the Island.

More than a dozen organizations were part of the first year of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative, which was developed by the Maine Department of Education after Governor Janet Mills announced the pledge to deliver outdoor summer learning programs to Maine students during her State of the State Address.

Students with marine debris

The Ecology School took students on field trips to sand beaches, tidepools, and salt marshes to learn about Maine’s coastal ecosystems. The Herring Gut Coastal Science Center exposed students to sea run fish streams, oyster farms, mudflats, hatcheries, and laboratories, while also touring marine businesses across the Midcoast to let students see firsthand potential careers in Maine’s maritime industries. Sailing Ships Maine continues to offer students the chance to sail aboard a commercial training ship as an active member of the crew.

“The Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative offers hands on, highly engaging programs that allow Maine’s young people to explore and learn from our state’s amazing bounty of natural resources,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin when the Initiative was launched. “Being outside connecting with nature and each other is so important in helping students recover from the pandemic. These outdoor learning experiences will build teamwork and leadership skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop new skills in our vast outdoor classroom which will translate to success inside the classroom as well. We thank all of the organizations that stepped up to be a part of this exciting initiative.”

This kind of so-called experiential learning is highly engaging and allows students to problem solve and learn new skills in real world settings, build teamwork and leadership skills, increase self-confidence, and develop an appreciation of nature.

Spending time outdoors has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety and to equip students with skills and knowledge that can help them succeed inside the classroom. Being able to interact with nature while building connections with peers is also beneficial students’ recovery following the disruptions and difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Organizations participating in the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative include: Herring Gut Coastal Science Center in Port Clyde, Hurricane Island + Bryant Pond in Bryant Pond, Hurricane Island + Game Loft, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Sailing Ships Maine in Portland, the Ecology School in Saco, Boothbay Sea and Science Center in Boothbay, Casco Bay High School and Rippleffect in Portland, Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Science and Education in Beals, Hurricane Island Foundation in Rockland, Laudholm Trust in Wells, Rippleffect in Portland, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, and the University of Maine System Cooperative Extension summer camps at Blueberry Cove and Tanglewood.

The Initiative is funded by nearly $900,000 in federal funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds. Full program descriptions can be found here.

Media Release: 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year State Finalists Announced 

Four Maine teachers were announced today as the State Finalists for the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year program. Eighth grade social studies and English Language Arts teacher Heather Anderson from Aroostook County, ninth grade humanities and social studies teacher Matthew Bernstein from Cumberland County, fourth grade math, writing, and science teacher Ashley Bryant from Oxford County, and high school social studies teacher Emily Albee from Penobscot County were all selected to move forward in the Teacher of the Year process and were chosen from the 2022 Maine County Teachers of the Year.

“I am in awe of the work of all of Maine’s educators and their commitment to their students and Maine schools. Maine’s teachers make possible the daily miracle that is public education,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “I couldn’t be prouder of these four Teacher of the Year State Finalists for representing the best qualities of Maine’s amazing educators. They exude optimism for public education, a commitment to their profession and to building relationships across their communities, and the energy and drive to make education wonderful for all their students, and for all students in Maine. Congratulations to each of you for this very well-deserved honor.”

One of the four State Finalists will be named the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine. The announcement will be in October after the final stages of the selection process are complete. Maine’s Teacher of the Year serves as an advocate for the teaching profession, Maine schools and students, and represents Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

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 Maine Department of Education, Educate Maine, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association made the announcement about the finalists.

“Maine is fortunate to have so many outstanding educators working to ensure the social, emotional and academic well-being of our students,” said Dr. Jason Judd, Executive Director, Educate Maine. “These State Finalists are exemplary models of the vibrant teaching that goes on in Maine classrooms. Congratulations to them and to their districts.  We look forward to working with them as they continue their journey as teacher leaders and ambassadors for the profession.”

“The quality of Maine schools is propelled by the strength of our teaching workforce and these state finalists embody all that we look for in the profession – talent, hard work, dedication, and strong beliefs that all Maine students deserve a high quality and supportive education,” said Maine State Board of Education Chair Desjardins. “Congratulations to all!”

“Maine educators exemplify professionalism, compassion, and commitment to their students, families, and communities,” said Heather Whitaker, 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year and Co-President, Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA). “Our finalists, who represent teachers from across the state, are leaders in the field.  We are eager to learn from their expertise as we work together in our shared commitment to Maine public education.”

More information on the State Finalists and the Maine Teacher of the Year program:

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Heather Anderson
Caribou Community School, Caribou
2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year

“I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity to collaborate with other amazing educators, to reflect on my own teaching practices, and to shine a light on the incredible educators in Aroostook County and in the great state of Maine.” 

Heather Anderson teaches 8th grade social studies and English Language Arts at Caribou Community School, part of RSU 39, where she believes that strong relationships are the building blocks of positive school experiences and success for students. By fostering mutual respect, actively listening, sharing interests, and providing guided choices, Anderson works hard to celebrate her students’ strengths and pinpoint students’ needs both individually and collectively. Recently, in response to mental health needs she witnessed during the 2021-2022 school year, Anderson worked collaboratively with her co-teacher and strived to build engaging units that focused on overcoming difficulties through resiliency. She is currently working with her humanities team to bring awareness to social issues through a middle-school-read project and the implementation of a new Civil Rights Team in her district. Anderson partnered with her community to bring in programs from her local mental health agency to supplement her curriculum and provide students with educational opportunities and coping strategies. Anderson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in psychology, from the University of Maine and also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New England as well as two endorsements, for Teaching Principal and Early Elementary. She is the 2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year and, as a lifelong learner, is always looking for new opportunities to grow as an educator.

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Matthew Bernstein
Casco Bay High School, Portland
2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year  

“I’m extremely humbled and grateful for this recognition and, even more so, for the opportunity to work with inspiring colleagues, families, and students and for the guidance I’ve received throughout my career from so many in my community. The recognition I am receiving currently is only possible because of how much others have done, and continue to do, to support me and because I have the gift of working with incredible students.” 

Matt Bernstein is a 9th grade humanities social studies teacher at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine. Bernstein has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a European History concentration from Bowdoin College where he was also a Bowdoin Teacher Scholar. He is the 2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. Bernstein’s pedagogy is centered around student voices and student activism. He believes that the purpose of education is to help students find their way of contributing to a more equitable world. Bernstein is also passionate about creating opportunities for students to experience joy and belonging at school on a daily basis and, to that end, he believes in cultivating meaningful relationships with students, often through his work as a 9th grade crew advisor, that are grounded in deep listening and holistic support. Bernstein has served as a team leader, crew team leader, and is currently a professional learning community coach where he facilitates ongoing professional learning with his colleagues. He is also a member of the Portland Public Schools Social Studies Vertical Content Team, collaborating with teachers across the district and local experts to develop Wabanaki Studies curriculum. Bernstein also embraces opportunities to deepen his knowledge and practice. He was recently named a 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, participating in a seminar entitled “Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture.” While not teaching, Bernstein is playing or coaching soccer and basketball, reading a book, or trying to determine where to find Portland’s best slice of pizza.

Ashley Bryant
Sacopee Valley Middle School, Hiram
2022 Oxford County Teacher of the Year  

“Being recognized as a finalist for Maine Teacher of the Year is an honor. As a member of the Sacopee Valley School district, of which I was a student myself and am now lucky enough to teach in as a professional, I am endlessly proud and thankful for the supportive and collaborative nature of this community.” 

Ashley Bryant teaches fourth grade math, writing, and science at Sacopee Valley Middle School, part of Maine School Administrative District #55 located in Hiram, Maine. Bryant, a Maine native, graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English and from the University of Southern Maine with a Masters of Science Degree in Education. Bryant spends each summer teaching -pre-kindergarten, preparing and engaging with the youngest of public school learners. She is the 2022 Oxford County Teacher of the Year. As a lifelong learner, Bryant continuously seizes professional development opportunities to best serve her students and community. In 2013, she became a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Adolescence English Language Arts; she cites the experience as one of the most beneficial opportunities of her career to build on her strengths and identify and improve on areas for growth. Bryant believes all students should feel welcomed, safe, and represented at school which is why she co-advises the school’s Civil Rights Team and supports the inclusion of Social Emotional Learning. Personally connecting with and caring about each individual student has a significant impact on readiness to learn so she makes building positive relationships a top priority. Professional development about Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and fair and equitable grading also influence Bryant’s craft. If she’s not at school or collaborating with other educators, she’s reading, exercising, or at a beach with her husband and their daughter.

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Emily Albee
Hampden Academy, Hampden
2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year  

“I continue to be honored and grateful to serve as the 2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year, working with a tremendous and talented cohort of 15 other county teachers. To be included as 1 of the 4 finalists for Maine Teacher of the Year energizes me to continue to advocate for students, teachers, and education in Maine.” 

Emily Albee is a social studies teacher working with grades 9-12 at Hampden Academy, part of Regional School Unit 22, in Hampden, Maine. Albee earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a second Major in History, a Master’s Degree in Education focusing on Middle Level Social Studies, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Technology and Social Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Innovation Engineering all from the University of Maine. Albee considers it the honor of her lifetime to work with young people. She enjoys helping students discover their curiosity for learning and ways to meaningfully engage with the world around them. She works hard to present diverse social studies content through an equity lens while helping students build an understanding of the impact of the past on the present. Albee enjoys learning from her students and has never experienced the same day twice in her classroom. She continues to commit to her lifelong learning journey by engaging with various leadership experiences in her district. Her experiences range from coaching middle school track, to securing funding to purchase bees for the HA Beekeeping Club, promoting restorative practices, and participating in a ride along with the Penobscot County Sheriff Department as research for her Law & Ethics students. Albee is an active union member and serves as the Co-Chair for the Human, Civil Rights, and Social Justice Committee of the Maine Education Association. Albee enjoys spending time with her family and traveling the world.

The Maine Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year program is administered through a unique partnership with Educate Maine, the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA) and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, the Silvernail Family, and Unum.

For more information about the Maine County Teacher of the Year Program and to see a list of County Teachers of the Year, and Maine Teachers of the Year, visit