Integrating Podcasting at Caribou Community School 

Creation and innovation are core elements to middle school learning, thanks to Kim Barnes and Heather Anderson, who both teach 8th grade English language arts (ELA) and social studies at Caribou Community School. In a recent unit of study about resiliency, Mrs. Barnes and Mrs. Anderson had the creative idea that podcasting would be a great way for students to demonstrate their knowledge on the topic. 

Mrs. Barnes said the idea was conceptualized from the work she did with the revised ELA Standards and thought that podcasting was a truly “authentic way to braid [the] standards into the work [they] were already doing.” 

Though they knew they wanted to use podcasting in their unit, Mrs. Barnes and Mrs. Anderson also felt they needed some support with teaching their students the more technical aspects. They reached out to the Department of Education’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Ambassadors who were able to create and present lessons to the Caribou 8th grade students. This all-day event focused on supporting the work Mrs. Barnes and Mrs. Anderson were doing in the classroom, as well as leading the students through the process of podcasting on their Chromebooks. The Ambassadors explained the value and possibilities of podcasting and then demonstrated how to create and edit podcasts using WeVideo. Students then practiced the process of podcasting in pairs or small groups by choosing a topic of their own, or just discussing a predetermined prompt. One group took the opportunity to begin a sports podcast, where they discussed recent events in sports and even planned out how often they should record the podcast in order to continue with it. 

From this experience, Mrs. Barnes noticed that the engagement of the students skyrocketed. Students reported that they really enjoyed the creative part of making podcasts and, immediately, many of them began listening to other podcasts outside of class for fun. Some students were also motivated to begin a school podcast.  

The busy day proved to be quite fruitful. Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Barnes felt that the event not only helped the students, but it also really energized them, as teachers. One student shared that the work with podcasting “is changing [his] perspective about reading and writing to a more positive one as ELA has always been a struggle for [him].” 

This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Rob Dominick as part of the Maine Schools Sharing the Success Campaign. To learn more, or to submit a story or an idea for a story, email rachel.paling@maine.gov. 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine’s Teacher of the Year Journey Starts with Your Nomination

Help Honor and Elevate Maine Teachers. Nominations Now Open for County and State Teacher of the Year Program

MAINE – Nominations are now open for the 2022 County Teachers of the Year and 2023 Teacher of the Year. Members of the public are encouraged to nominate educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and who inspire the achievement of all students.

“Our educators have continued to inspire, educate and care for their students during dynamic and difficult times,” said Commissioner of Education Pender Makin. “We encourage education colleagues, students, and community members to nominate an educator who exemplifies the committed heroes in our classrooms and schools.”

Nominations can be made through a nomination form on the Maine Teacher of the Year Website now through 5:00 pm on Feb. 4, 2022. Nominations will be accepted from students, parents, caregivers, community members, school administrators, colleagues, college faculty members, and associations/organizations (self-nominations, and nominations from family members are not accepted).

To be considered for the County and Maine Teacher of the Year award, a person must:

Maine’s County and State Teachers of the Year serve as advocates for teachers, students, and public education in Maine. They serve as advisors to the Department of Education and state-level education stakeholders across Maine.  Additionally, County and State Teachers of the Year join a cohort of teacher leaders that actively work together for the betterment of education in Maine. They also receive on-going professional learning and participate in many state and county leadership opportunities.

The 2022 County Teachers of the Year will be announced in May. The 2023 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 Maine Teacher of the Year is announced by Maine’s Education Commissioner at a school assembly in the fall. Each year, State and County Teachers of the Year are honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Gala also held in the fall.

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Help us promote the Teacher of the Year Program! Our goal is to expand and diversify our nomination pool!

About the Program:

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On behalf of, and in partnership with Maine Department of Education, 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, the Silvernail Family, and Unum, with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is committed to a nomination and selection process that ensures people of all backgrounds are represented.  Educate Maine and the Maine Department of Education champion that commitment by encouraging the nomination of educators from all culturally diverse experiences and backgrounds.

“We are proud to administer the Maine Teacher of the Year program in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education,” said Dr. Jason Judd, Educate Maine Executive Director. “Our unique program is a partnership between business and education designed to honor the good work of teachers, elevate the profession, provide professional growth opportunities and amplify the voice of classroom teachers.  The network of State and County Teachers of the Year is a valuable resource for our state and we often call upon their expertise to guide and inform our work.”

“We are grateful for our partnership with Educate Maine and for their commitment to a program that elevates the voice and role of Maine educators,” said Commissioner Makin. “We are also grateful for our sponsors and the network of Maine’s County and State Teachers of the Year for their ongoing advocacy and leadership.”

Through the generous support of Maine businesses, there is no cost to the local district when the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on their official duties, which includes representing educators state-wide and nationally through safely distanced in-person and virtual events that highlight the important work of Maine schools, communities, and educators.

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

Media Contact: Dolly Sullivan, Educate Maine at dolly@educatemaine.org

 

Educators Honored at Outdoor Teacher of the Year Tailgate Gala

(Pictured: 2021 County Teachers of the Year)

The Maine Teacher of the Year Program hosted an outdoor celebration last month to honor its 2021 Maine County Teachers of the Year and the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year. This is the second year that the program has hosted the event with an outdoor afternoon celebration in lieu of a traditional indoor evening gala in an effort to gather attendees safely.

Meet the County Teachers of the Year:

Hosted in Lewiston outdoor at Geiger, a longtime supporter of the Maine Teacher of the Year Program, the celebration featured lunch provided by Lewiston Regional Technical Center’s Green Ladle Food Truck, an awards ceremony, and remarks from partners, supporters, and 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year Kelsey Stoyanova.

Event attendees included the 2021 Maine County Teachers of the Year and Maine’s 2022 Teacher of the Year Kelsey Stoyanova, who were each accompanied by friends and family members. Also in attendance were representatives from the Maine Department of Education, including deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta who offered remarks, representatives from the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA), legacy County and State Teachers of the Year, and members of the Maine State Board of Education.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows was also an honorary guest, carrying on the annual tradition of graciously presenting Maine’s signature license plate to the 2022 Teacher of the Year, Kelsey Stoyanova.

The event was made possible by the impeccable planning of Educate Maine, the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA), and the Maine Department of Education.

The Teacher of the Year Program is generously sponsored by: Bangor Savings Bank, 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: https://www.mainetoy.org/

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.

MEDIA RELEASE: State Finalists Announced for 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year 

Three Maine teachers have been announced as State finalists for the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year program. The finalists were chosen from the 2021 Maine County Teachers of the Year honored earlier this year during a special virtual ceremony which was viewed over 2,000 times.

“All 16 County Teachers of the Year exemplify the amazing dedication and creative spirit of Maine’s educators,” said Pender Makin, Maine Commissioner of Education. “These finalists have been selected for their passion, vision, and advocacy for education and for Maine students, and each will be an outstanding ambassador on behalf of all educators in our state.”

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.

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, Maine State Board of Education and the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association are pleased to announce that Paige Fournier (Cumberland), Kelsey Stoyanova (Penobscot), and Hillary Hoyt (Waldo) are moving on as 2022 State Finalists.

Please join us in congratulating the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists.

Paige FournierPaige Fournier
Freeport Middle School, Freeport 
2021 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year 

I am honored to represent RSU5 through the MTOY process. I look forward to amplifying the voices and experiences of all students- particularly those that struggle- in an effort to ensure all students thrive, grow, and feel empowered to make changes in their lives.”

Dr. Paige Fournier is a middle level special educator at Freeport Middle School in Maine. She began volunteering in a special education classroom as a high school student and discovered it was her life-long passion immediately. Dr. Fournier earned a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education/ Elementary Education at C.W. Post- Long Island University while playing Division II soccer and lacrosse, winning a National Championship in lacrosse. She frequently references her athletic experiences as part of her drive to empower and advocate for students.

Dr. Fournier holds a master’s degree in Special Education from New England College where she also most recently earned her Doctorate of Education in K-12 Leadership. In her studies she researched the impact of mindfulness on the general mental health and wellness of students at the middle level. Dr. Fournier is a Representative Assembly Board Member of the Maine Council for Exceptional Children, Co-Chair of the RSU 5 Wellness Committee, a member of the leadership team, a 2012 Maine Teacher of the Year semifinalist, a local and global teacher mentor, and a Board Member of the Freeport United Soccer Club. She has presented at conferences across New England, has been published in the New England College Journal of Applied Educational Research, and has successfully co-written grants to support technology, school gardens and a school-based greenhouse, and social emotional programs. She is passionate about inclusive practices and advocating for the success of all students, particularly those students that face adversity.

Kelsey StoyanovaKelsey Stoyanova
Reeds Brook Middle School, Hampden
2021 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year 

“In the midst of a pandemic where uncertainties have been abundant, my journey with Maine Teacher of the Year has made it certainly clear — Maine educators know that what is best for students is to listen to them, know them as humans first and value their ideas, and then learn alongside them,” said Stoyanova. “I’m proud to represent my students and colleagues in RSU 22, Penobscot County, and our state to continue to advocate that we prioritize representation, choice, and voice of ALL students in our schools, in our curriculum, and in education policy.”

Kelsey Stoyanova is an 8th grade language arts teacher at Reeds Brook Middle School, part of Regional School Unit 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 highlighting 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.

Hillary HoytHillary Hoyt
Leroy H Smith School, Winterport
2021 Waldo County Teacher of the Year 

“I am honored to be a finalist and be able to share my belief in the importance of engaging our students with their learning, each other, and the community,” said Hoyt. “Through this, we can show them that their dreams can come true!” 

Hillary Hoyt teaches third grade at Leroy H Smith School in Winterport, Maine. She teaches math, reading, writing, social studies, and her favorite subject, science. It is no surprise that she is also the elementary science leader. Hoyt received her Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Liberal Arts and minors in dance and English from the University of Maine in Orono.

Hoyt is a nationally board-certified teacher whose goal is to excite learners and show them how learning and reflecting can open new horizons. From classroom transformations such as Underwater Day to creating a rehabilitation center for animals through project-based learning using math and research skills, her goal is for students to be engaged in every lesson. On any given day, you may see her students being secret agents of the Fairytale Bureau of Investigation or engineers collaboratively building a dam while learning about natural disasters. Hoyt aims to create problem solvers, reflective thinkers, and creative designers in her classroom and beyond.

Through her experience as a classroom teacher, dance teacher, and coach at Husson University, she sees the importance of conversation, community, and connection. In all her positions, she works to have students understand how to share and listen to each other. She hopes to have students learn how they are part of the community and the importance of their role. As for the connection, her goal is for her students to see their relationship to each other, their community, and most importantly, the world.

One of these three teachers will be named the 2022 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.

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 http://www.mainetoy.org.