Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Laura Cyr

Maine DOE Team member Laura Cyr is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Laura in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Legislative and Constituent Services Specialist and the Rulemaking Liaison

What do you like best about your job?

A big part of my job is helping our content experts answer questions about the process of governing education, which can be very different from when we used to be teachers delivering education. I love being able to support our teams as they support educators in the field.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I began my teaching career shortly before NCLB in 2001. My students were middle-schoolers dealing with English language acquisition, housing instability, equity issues, and dramatic curriculum changes. I focused my graduate degrees on public policy and educational administration because I believed I could help more students outside of the classroom.

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

Work during the legislative season keeps me pretty busy. At home, my husband and I have 3 dogs: an Italian mastiff, a Pitbull, and a Belgian Malinois. They like to drink my coffee, snore loudly during Zoom meetings, and begrudge me even one couch cushion. We have a cozy little farm in a 150-year-old farmhouse where we raise our own veggies, goats, ducks, and chickens. Our fun is usually something like building garden beds, renovating our old home, and watching our dogs act like fools.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Tammy Diaz

Maine DOE Team member Tammy Diaz is being highlighted as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Tammy in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

The School Nurse Specialist’s role is to provide leadership and support in collaboration with the Coordinated School Health team to school nurses statewide. Monitoring public health trends and policy changes impacting school health and communities, and providing information and education to school nurses for best practices to support school health is an important part of this role.

What do you like best about your job?

I love the opportunity to connect and collaborate with people to bring resources, ideas, and strategies to further public health efforts and safety for schools and communities. I am excited to be able to support school nurses as they ensure students are in their best health to get the most out of the learning experiences provided in our schools.

How or why did you decide on this career?

It’s really important to me that people have the resources they need to thrive in health and feel safe in their communities. This career lends the opportunity to utilize my skills as a registered nurse and public health professional to assist in building infrastructure and support processes that enhance wellness and safety for students and their families.

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

Outside of spending time with my family which is my favorite activity, I love yoga, hiking, and ropes course challenges! I also like a good book and love walking my dogs.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Haley Neal

Maine DOE Team Member Haley Neal is being highlighted as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Haley in the question and answer below.

What is your role with DOE?

I am an Office Specialist I for the Learning Through Technology Team. I provide office support to the Office of Innovation/MLTI team which includes assisting in event planning, booking hotels, paying invoices, uploading contracts and purchase orders into Advantage (our financial tracking system), set up interviews, schedule meetings, take meeting notes, etc.

What do you like best about your job?

I love how every day is different. I’m constantly learning, challenging my creative side and seeing how our events make a difference in students. Before coming to DOE/MLTI I didn’t realize the impact MLTI had on schools, and I feel happy to be a part of that.

How or why did you decide on this career?

My mother worked at DOE years ago and I always loved visiting her office and the people there. When I started at the state at DHHS I knew I wanted to find my way to DOE and be a part of helping Maine’s schools. I’ve always had a love for education and with now having children of my own I want them to have every opportunity and resource available to ensure they get access to a great education and foundation to be able to pursue whatever they want in life.

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

My family and I are big outdoor lovers. We have our own little farm on our 10 acres where we raise our own meat birds and pigs and I have my 5 ducks and 4 chickens, all named and loved. My almost-2-year-old son, boyfriend and I are usually outside playing with our tractor or doing home projects/renovations. If we’re not home, then we’re out with family doing something fun. I love exercising, walking, reading and cooking. I’m also a cheerleading coach at the Augusta Recreational Center, going on our 2nd year of doing it. Fun Fact, I was previously a cheerleader for 14 years, 1 year at USM and 2 years All-Star.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Megan Welter

Maine DOE Team member Megan Welter is being highlighted as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Megan in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Associate Commissioner of Public Education. I work closely with a number of the DOE teams, including the Office of Special Services and Inclusive Education, Communications, the Office of School and Student Supports, the Maine School Safety Center, and the Workforce Development and Innovative Pathways Team. In addition, as a member of the Commissioner’s Office, I also work with colleagues to develop policies and procedures that allow the Department to support the field.

What do you like best about your job?

Learning so much every day! I am also especially grateful to be able to work with so many people who are committed to serving the students and educators in our State!

How or why did you decide on this career?

I began my career working with children and youth in emergency shelter placements. Through this work, I understood the value of providing early and comprehensive services that address a child’s physical, emotional, social, and educational needs. Such early and consistent supports are vital to building a child’s resilience and capacity to persevere through adverse experiences. I truly believe that public education is one of the most powerful ways we can meet these needs while also opening doors to a world of opportunities.

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

I am married and we have two almost-fully-formed-adult children, who I love spending time with. We have a big dog that I like to walk, but because he is afraid of bugs they are generally short walks.  I love all sports, but particularly enjoy watching football. I am a proud St. Louis Cardinals fan (I grew up in StL). I also love listening to music, the theater, and spending time outside. I love cycling, mountain biking, and hiking.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Matt Leavitt

Maine DOE staff member Matt Leavitt is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Matt in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Website & Technology Coordinator for the Department. I oversee, assist, and coordinate content and technical assistance for staff necessary to provide accurate, accessible, useful, and well-designed portals of information for constituents around the state. I assist with other technology and communications needs as necessary.

What do you like best about your job?

Our website is not only a resource, but a reflection of the exciting mission-based work that we are all working on. I love being a part of the process of making information accessible, interesting, and fun!

How or why did you decide on this career?

I have always been interested in technology and computers. I was making my first websites on Geocities in the late 90s which led to my higher education experience in new media. Paired with my passion for education, the opportunity to move forward the vision we have for students, educators, and school systems in Maine through my skills with technology is exciting!

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

Escape Rooms, live music, and video games are my primary hobbies. Our family has done close to 400 escape rooms (Our 9yo has done over 100!), concerts are where I feel most connected to myself, and video games help me relax and unwind.