Teams advance to Farm to School Cook-off Finals Competition


The Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition office kicked off their 4th annual Farm to School Cook-off last month. Cook-off teams representing nine school districts from across Maine participated in the event. The teams, consisting of a student and school nutrition staff member, served up tasty and nutritious breakfast and lunch meals within a specific time frame that showcased Maine grown ingredients. Apples donated from Ricker Hill Orchards and dried black beans donated from Fairwinds Farm were used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition. The regional cook-off’s were hosted by the culinary arts programs at the Lake Region Vocational Center, Bath Regional Career and Technical Center and Eastern Maine Community College.

South Portland, RSU 12, and Cherryfield will be advancing to the Farm to School Cook-off finals competition on April 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Kennebec Valley Community College- Alfond Campus in Clinton. A panel of judges including a student, chef and school nutrition director, will score the dishes based on presentation, taste, creativity, and feasibility to be used in a school breakfast or lunch program. Other criteria will include food safety and time management.

The winning team will be awarded a plaque and have the opportunity to be spokespeople and participate on the judging panel for the cook off in School Year 2020.  Recipes used in the cook-off will later be shared with all schools in a Maine farm to school cook-book.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the final cook-off but need to confirm prior to the day of the event.

For more information about the event, please contact Stephanie Stambach at, or to confirm media coverage, contact: Kelli Deveaux at or 207-624-6747.

PRESS RELEASE: Commissioner Makin Selects Kelli Deveaux as Department of Education Communications Director

Augusta, MAINE – Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin announced today that she has selected former Westbrook High Principal Kelli Deveaux to serve as the Department’s next Communications Director.

“Ensuring Maine parents, students, school officials and communities have accurate and clear information about education statewide is a core responsibility of the Department of Education. I am delighted to welcome Kelli’s expertise and decades of experience in Maine schools to this important role,” said Commissioner Makin. “Kelli’s passion for education and communication skills will serve the people of Maine well and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.”

“I am honored to join the Department of Education and grateful to Commissioner Makin for the opportunity to continue working to support Maine teachers and students,” said Kelli Deveaux. “As a former principal and teacher I know firsthand how important the Department of Education’s ability to communicate effectively truly is, and I look forward to undertaking this critical work and supporting education professionals and students statewide.”

Prior to joining the Department of Education, Kelli Deveaux most recently served as Principal of Westbrook High School, a position she held since 2016. Deveaux also served as an Assistant Principal at Windham High School, and began her more than two-decades long career in education as an English teacher in South Portland. Deveaux lives in Gorham with her husband and their three children.

Contact: Kelli Deveaux (Kelli.Deveaux@Maine.Gov | 624-6747)

MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine DOE to Host 2019 Farm to School Cook-Off

What: The Farm to School Cook-off showcases the culinary skills of school food service staff and students, while promoting locally grown products in school meals. Each volunteer team, consisting of one school food service staff and one student, will prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. Local apples and dried black beans will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition.

Who: School food service staff and students, representatives from Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Program.


Thursday, March 21
Lake Region Vocational Center, Naples, ME
10:00am start time (cooking begins promptly at 10:30am)
Teams are representing Auburn, South Portland, Falmouth

Friday, March 22
Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, Bath, ME
10:00am start time (cooking begins promptly at 10:30am)
Teams are representing RSU 38, Yarmouth and RSU 12

Tuesday, March 26
Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor, ME
1:00pm start time (cooking begins promptly at 1:30pm)
Teams are representing RSU 54, RSU 22 and Cherryfield

A final cook-off will be held at Kennebec Valley Community College- Alfond Campus on April 23.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition. For further questions, please contact Maine Department of Education by contacting Rachel Paling at or call 624-6747.

Press Release: Nominations Now Open for Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor Awards

Volunteers are the heartbeat of Maine and it is volunteer recognition season.  Nominations are currently being accepted for the Governor’s Service Awards, Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor and Young Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor.

Since 1987, the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism have celebrated and recognized the role of citizen volunteers in the success and vitality of Maine communities.  At the same time, the awards seek to inspire others to be active in civic life and follow in the footsteps of those recognized.

Teachers and coaches are encouraged to submit nominations for student groups if each member of the group meets the 50-hour minimum requirement. Please note that any hours of volunteer time completed for graduation can also be counted towards the minimum obligation for this award program.

Awardees will be honored at the statewide Roll of Honor Recognition Ceremony that will be held at the Messalonskee High School in the J. Duke Albanese Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Nomination submissions must be sent electronically by or before the deadline date of Friday, March 15, 2019.  For information on how to submit nominations, visit the Volunteer Maine website.

This program is administered by the Maine Commission for Community Service, which strives to build capacity and sustainability in Maine’s volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy. For more information about the Maine Commission for Community Service, visit their website.

MEDIA RELEASE: Certification Processing Reduced to Three Weeks

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that its certification office has reached its operational goal of a three-week turnaround time for processing educator certification applications that are complete. This is an enormous improvement from the significant processing times educators have been experiencing.

“The Department has been working diligently to reduce processing times to ensure that qualified educators can receive a Maine teaching credential as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Pender Makin. “We know how critical the certification process is, especially during a time when many of our schools are experiencing a shortage of teachers and substitutes.”

In 2017, the Maine Department of Education launched a new online certification system called the Maine Educator Credentialing System (MEIS). It is a web-based educator credentialing system which replaced an outdated paper application certification system. At this point in the rollout of MEIS, Maine educators and administrators are able to manage their certification renewals completely online. The next phase of the rollout will allow initial educator applications to be submitted completely online by educators, this will be followed by the rollout of the public certification portal.