Get to know the DOE Team: Meet David Emberley

Maine DOE team member David Emberley is being highlighted this week as the part of a Get to know the DOE Team campaign! Learn a little more about David in the brief question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am currently the Due Process Consultant for the Special Services team in the Effective Dispute Resolution office.  I provide technical assistance to parents, advocates, district personnel and lawyers in understanding Maine Unified Special Education Regulation – Chapter 101, procedural safeguards and the mediation, complaint investigation and hearing processes available to the field.  I also monitor corrective action plans as indicated in complaint investigation reports and due process hearing decisions. I previously worked with the general supervision and special purpose private school teams monitoring special education programs.

What do you like best about your job?

The variety in job tasks and interactions with people in the special education field are what I like best about my job.  I also appreciate the support and interactions I have with others on the special services team.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I have been working in the field of special education for 30+ years.  In the beginning I was seeking the long holiday and summer breaks.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

I spend time with family, exploring everything that Maine has to offer in outdoor recreation: walking, hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, etc. I have lived in Maine for three years and I still feel like I am on a long summer/winter vacation.

Trauma Informed Readiness and Response Planning Workshop

As the most requested support topic from the field,  we at the Department of Education hear of the extensive impact that trauma, mental health and the opioid crisis are having on our schools. We are taking action to support educators in addressing the increased needs of our students through the use of trauma informed practices. To begin this partnership and support, we will be hosting an interactive conference on Trauma Informed Readiness and Response Planning.

When: Friday, January 24th, 2020

Time: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Lunch is provided)

Location: University of Maine, Wells Conference Center, Orono.

This is a grant funded opportunity for schools to receive guided support in the development of their individualized emergency plans for a trauma free and trauma responsive environment. Funding for this opportunity is available for up to 65 teams, and can include covering the costs of travel and substitutes for the day. An application and commitment to attend are required; these will be accepted until December 20th, 2019.

Application for Individual School Participation 

A preview of questions in the application is below:
Name of School:
School District:
Primary Contact (person with whom all communication and arrangements go through):
Contact Phone/Email/Address:
3 Team Members and their roles at the school (3 people are required for the activities planned):
Describe the top three areas of need for your school around this topic, and why work on a responsive plan will help you overcome these. 

A final agenda and confirmation for teams will be forthcoming after the closing of the application window. For questions, contact Jessica Nixon at


Professional Learning Opportunity: Early Mathematics Diagnostic Interview (EMDI), A Diagnostic Interview Tool

Registration: 8:00 am, Session 8:30 am – 3:15 pm

Who is invited?

This professional learning opportunity is specifically designed for Pre-K-5 mathematics educators, including classroom teachers, special education teachers, Title 1 teachers, math or instructional coaches, and math support staff.

Why participate?

  • Learn about and practice using a diagnostic interview tool for mathematics and how to plan for instruction based on results
  • Recognize the developmental progression of and misconceptions in mathematics learning
  • Strengthen your own pedagogical and content knowledge in mathematics
  • Compare assessment practices and ways to use assessment to improve student learning
  • Take away the EMDI tool, ideas, resources, and materials to use in your school and classrooms

What are our key goals?

The key goals are to provide you with experiences, information, and resources to guide you in the areas of diagnostic assessment, identifying students’ mathematical needs, and developing knowledge of instructional strategies that have an impact on students’ mathematical learning.

What is our approach to professional development?

  • Do the math: Using video and hands-on explorations, delve into key elementary mathematics concepts using multiple approaches, including identifying types of questions and responses and varying types of mathematical
  • Connect to research: Discuss readings that connect each topic to research and take away powerful research-based approaches, tools, and resources to use in your school and
  • Collaborate: Work together and share ideas with other Pre-K-5
  • Leading change: Set goals and generate a plan for ongoing mathematics improvement for your school and

Cost: $90.00 per person for the 3-day series (includes continental breakfast, lunch, and materials)

Contact hours: 24 hours


Locations: Dates (Must attend all dates): Registration Links:
Big Cat’s Events Center, Ellsworth 2/4/20; 2/5/20; 4/9/20

Storm Date: 2/25/20

Register for Ellsworth Event
Northeastland Hotel, Presque Isle 2/6/20; 2/7/20; 4/10/20

Storm Date: 2/11/20

Register for Presque Isle Event
The Green Ladle, Lewiston 3/10/20; 3/11/20; 4/29/20

Storm Date: 3/19/20

Register for Lewiston Event
Hampton Inn, Saco 3/12/20; 3/13/20; 4/30/20

Storm Date: 3/25/20

Register for Saco Event

Space is Limited! Register by January 10, 2020

Questions?  Please contact: Jen Robitaille, Elementary Mathematics Specialist: 624-6673,

Mid-winter Boost:  2020 Maine School Winter Wellness Summit, Life is Good, Wellness Makes It Better!

Taking care of the health and well-being of staff and students has become more and more critical given the many stresses of the world in which we all live. Register today for the Maine School Winter Wellness Summit, Life is Good, Wellness Makes It Better! being held January 30 & 31, 2020 at The Samoset Resort, Rockport, to bolster your school wellness program. Attendees will learn strategies and be exposed to tools and resources available from state and national sources that address the six dimensions of wellness: mental, emotional, physical, social, spiritual and​ occupational health. However, this year there will be a special emphasis on Mental Wellness for all! The Summit will include inspiring, interactive keynote presentations each day, engaging workshops on personal wellness practices, creating positive school environments, healthy school culture and climate for staff and students, leadership skills, emerging health issues and action planning for wellness!


grey haired man, laughingMurray Banks is a motivational speaker and world champion athlete with roots in teaching school. He lives life with a passion for health and well-being every day. This year he will focus his message on the importance of positivity on one’s overall health using hilarious images, imaginative videos, and poignant classroom and personal stories that will inspire all of us.


Salt and pepper haired man with moustache and glasses, smilingJanuary 31st OPENING KEYNOTE:  George Manning returns to the Wellness Summit with more tools, resources and insights focused on life, work and the pursuit of balance. He will engage the audience with his enchanting personality and stories that come from more than 40 years of experience teaching psychology at the collegiate level and traveling the country helping organizations and businesses develop healthy and productive work environments.

The goal of the Summit is to prepare and empower participants to create healthy, positive and safe schools for all school personnel and students by promoting policies and environmental practices that support healthier schools, improve personal health and well-being, and enhance academic achievement.  Click here for up-to-date details, draft agenda and session information on the 2020 Maine School Winter Wellness Summit and follow The Samoset Resort link to reserve rooms at the special group rate.

Individuals and teams interested in Schoolsite Health Promotion and wellness are encourage to attend. One low cost for two-days, meals included. Early registration is open through December 27 for $125/person and regular registration after December 28 is $145/person.

Join us for the first fully engaging and educational Winter Wellness Summit, a component of the Maine Department of Education’s Schoolsite Health Promotion Program.

Maine Educators Celebrated at Annual Teacher of the Year Gala

The Teacher of the Year Program hosted its annual Gala this past weekend on Saturday, November 16th at Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks. The event honors Maine educators that have been named County Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year with a banquet, reception, and awards ceremony.

IMG_3222The event featured remarks from 2019 Teacher of the Year Joseph Hennessey, an English Teacher at Piscataquis Community High School who is finishing his year-long designation as the 2019 Teacher of the Year. Commissioner Makin received a standing ovation as she urged all present to elevate the status of educators in Maine, as their work is the single most important assurance of a thriving democracy.  Incoming 2020 Teacher of the Year Heather Whitaker also addressed the audience, reminding the audience that the foundation of learning is built on relationships of trust and compassion. Ms. Whitaker was presented with a custom Maine licence plate from Maine’s Secretary of State, Mathew Dunlap, a tradition each year.

During the Awards ceremony, County Teachers of the Year were each provided with a crystal apple award, a County Teacher of the Year banner, totes filled with Maine products donated by Maine businesses (sponsored by Live and Work in Maine), in addition to free registration to the annual ACTEM Conference (provided by ACTEM). 

In addition to the above awards, Semi Finalists, State Finalists, and the Teacher of the Year each received a hand thrown pottery bowl with their names on it (sponsored by Maine TOY Association and Maine State Board of Education). The Teacher of the Year was also given an IPad (provided by ACTEM).

2019 County Teachers of the YearAndroscoggin County, Shawn Rice; Aroostook County, Kim Barnes; Cumberland County, Heather Whitaker; Franklin County, Robert Taylor; Hancock County, Nell Herrmann; Kennebec County: Emily Bowen; Knox County, Thomas Gray; Oxford County, Linda Andrews; Penobscot County, Tracy Deschaine; Piscataquis County, Bobbi Tardif; Sagadahoc County, Charles Bingham; Somerset County, Katherine Bertini; Waldo County, Ashley Reynolds; Washington County, Jeanna Carver; York County, Ethel Atkinson.

Semi Finalists: Jeanna Carver, Tracy Deschaine, Thomas Gray, Ashley Reynolds, Shawn Rice, Bobbi Tardif, Robert Taylor, Heather Whitaker

State finalists: Thomas GrayRobert Taylor, Heather Whitaker

2020 Teacher of the Year: Heather Whitaker

The event also includes keynote remarks and honors for many of the program’s partners and sponsors including Educate Maine, who administers the program, the Maine Department of Education, and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, and Pratt and Whitney.

The Teacher of the Year Program is a year-long process that, each year, through a rigorous selection process, names an educator from each county as County Teacher of the Year, and names one educator as Maine Teacher of the Year. Any educator can be nominated by a member of their community for the Teacher of the Year Program. The nomination process begins in January each year.