Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Janette Kirk

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

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Chief of Learning Systems at the Department. This role coordinates the work of Office of Learning Systems which comprises of five teams – Assessment, Career & Technical Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Standards & Instructional Support team (Early Learning and Secondary teams).

What do you like best about your job?

A good number of us who choose education as a career do so to make a difference – this is the most important aspect of my work, to feel that I am one of many, contributing to make a difference in the lives of Maine students. The wonderful and knowledgeable folks I get to work with within the Office of Learning Systems and those in the Department in general is another important element. The fact that no two days look the same also keeps the role interesting.

How or why did you decide on this career?

Working at a Department of Education was not necessarily a career aspiration but at the age of 12, my 6th grade elementary school teacher, Mr. McClellan, inspired me to become a teacher. He made learning fun, incorporated music, performance and brought history and social studies to life in a practical, interactive and fun way. He made a huge difference in my life and as a result motivated me to want to do the same for others. From that point on I wanted to be a teacher. After initially teaching in an elementary school in Liverpool, UK, I moved to the U.S. and worked with marginalized populations at The Salvation Army coordinating afterschool programming across Northeast Ohio. More recently my husbands work brought us to Maine where I started working at the Department. Education and working with and supporting children and students has always been an area in which I’ve wanted to work from an early age.

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

My 12 and 14 year old boys, Nathan and Owen and their hockey schedules take up most of my time but any free time I have I enjoy spending with them and my husband of 17 years, Jon. Outside of family time, I enjoy watching movies and more recently exercising.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Anne-Marie Adamson

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

What are your roles with DOE?

I am working on the Federal Monitoring Team in the Office for Special Services. In my role, I review district’s compliance for following special education federal and state guidelines. An important part of this process is providing technical assistance and support for special education administrators and teachers through professional development, office hours and individual meetings. I am part of a great team of colleagues for this work and really enjoy getting to know all the talented special educators around the state through our trainings. Typically, my job would entail travelling to the districts but for the time being, we are doing quite a bit remotely. We all are all looking forward to being able to get back on the road again, hopefully sooner rather than later!

How or why did you decide on this career?

Originally I chose the field of special education because I enjoy teaching to individual needs and the joy and excitement that comes when a child learns a new skill. I decided to work for the Maine DOE because I felt that supporting teachers and ultimately children through a wider lens would be more fulfilling. I truly believe that all children deserve the best possible education they can, regardless of their abilities and I believe that providing support for teachers through this process is hopefully making a difference for all children. It has been both challenging and rewarding providing this support as we switched this fall to remote and hybrid learning models.

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

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband on our small farm raising sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. We garden vegetables and fruits and also process wool. We have six children and four grandchildren that we enjoy getting together with as much as possible. Exploring the State of Maine is something I also truly love doing whenever I can from the mountains to the coast!

Get to Know the DOE Team: Meet Carole King

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

What are your roles with DOE?

I began working in DOE afternoons while I was still employed at Cony High School as an Office Secretary to the Principal 1979-2009. I worked full time in the summer months as my position at the school was school-year-only. After two years, I resigned from the position at school and began work at MDOE full time under a contract through the Maine Math and Science Alliance.

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy the variety of work I perform for the Specialists on the Maine DOE Learning Systems Team. The work has varied over the years and I have assisted each specialist at one time or another setting up interviews, sending out letters, making entries into Advantage for Contracts, POs, and other clerical duties as requested.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I’ve always enjoyed working in the field of education supporting students and teaching staff.

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

I enjoy time with my family, knitting, gardening and spending time outside during all our seasons. We are so lucky living in Maine!

Get to Know the DOE Team: Meet Lee Anne Larsen

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

What are your roles with DOE?

For the past few years, I have served as the coordinator for the Early Learning Team (PK-5) in the Office of Learning Systems.  In this capacity, I promote the wide range of Maine DOE efforts related to early childhood and elementary education.  This work involves facilitation of and collaboration with the DOE specialists who support Maine’s PK-5 schools, Head Start programs, and early learning educators.  The Early Learning Team offers technical assistance and professional learning related to many components of early childhood and elementary programming and serves as half of the DOE’s Standards and Instructional Supports team.  Additionally, this role provides oversight for a variety of initiatives and grants that benefit early learning across Maine and facilitates coordination of these efforts with other Maine DOE teams, state agencies, and community-based programs.  Prior to assuming this role, I spent 17 years serving as the Maine DOE’s Elementary Literacy Specialist.

What do you like best about your job?

Early childhood and elementary education provide children with a strong foundation for future learning and well-being.  This role enables me to promote development of the whole child across the first 10 years of their lives. It provides opportunity to support the array of domains within child development and to work collaboratively with many colleagues across the state who share this passion. It is also energizing to engage in innovative systems thinking and problem solving that ultimately improves educational opportunities for Maine’s children.

How or why did you decide on this career?

Education has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember—my great-grandparents, grandmother, father, aunts, and mother-in-law all served in various education-related roles.  Through summer jobs, I discovered the joy of helping children grow and learn which led me to teaching elementary school.  While working in this capacity, I recognized the power of literacy education and began to specialize, including growing my skills in instructional leadership, coaching, and program administration. When I had the opportunity to serve as a Distinguished Educator at the Maine DOE, I realized the privilege of supporting literacy education efforts on a larger scale, especially through building relationships with educators across the state. In my current role, I help shape policy and programming that contributes to equitable and inclusive education for Maine’s children. I am energized each day by working with a team of colleagues who share this passion and appreciate being able to support their efforts.

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

Spending time with my husband, our two daughters and son-in-law, and other family members brings me great joy. My happy place is always near the ocean!  I also enjoy traveling, reading, gardening, and hiking.

Get to Know the DOE Team: Meet Maryalice Crofton

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

What are your roles with DOE?

My job for the last 26 years has been with the Maine Commission for Community Service – 25 years as Executive Director. In July 2012, the Commission’s fiscal agent changed to the Department of Education so that’s the start of my internal connection to the business people. As one might expect, the role of Executive Director is multi-faceted. There are 24 Commissioners who are very involved in our work – we couldn’t do as much without them. Then there is the facet that is managing federal and state legislative as well as intergovernmental relationships. Our oversight committee is State and Local Government but our budget flows through DOE so we have a new relationship with education and cultural services. Then, there are the partnerships, public education, keeping everyone focused on our strategic plan, and supporting the team. I serve on the national public policy committee as well as a couple of work groups.

What do you like best about your job?

I’ve always said I would leave when I got bored. That hasn’t happened yet and it’s what keeps me engaged in the work. That, plus knowing the important role of service in community health and resiliency. It’s been such a relief to have more and more research published for our field.

How or why did you decide on this career?

That presumes I decided! I have to say that my career path has not been deliberate but accidental and it’s been an adventure. I came to the Commission after 15 years of leading mentoring nonprofits and before that I worked in youth development for UConn Cooperative Extension. Here I was the Grants Officer first – I told folks I didn’t want to be in charge for a while. Well, that lasted 4 months! Then the Exec Director retired and had me appointed interim. From there, it’s history.

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

I’m an avid gardener, landscaper, singer, and thinker. If I say “I’ve been thinking” to either my husband or my work colleagues, they all get this pained expression that goes with “Oh, no. Now what?” Then they laugh and say how shocked they are.