Maine DOE Team member April Perkins is being highlighted as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about April in the question and answer below.
What are your roles with DOE?
I serve as the World Languages & English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)/Bilingual Programs Specialist. I’ve been with the Maine DOE for about four and a half years. The first three years I supported ESOL educators, and then last January I took on the dual role of World Languages and ESOL. I love both aspects of my job so much!
What do you like best about your job?
Everything! I really love advocating for language teachers and learners at the state level, as I work on various committees and collaborate with teams across the Department. But the best part of any day is talking directly with language teachers, answering their questions, sharing resources, and being a thought-partner. It is so energizing to talk with teachers who share the passion I feel for linguistic and cultural diversity, equity, inclusion. Right now, my favorite project I’m working on is planning supports and resources for the development of bilingual programs in Maine. Bilingual education is such an incredible opportunity for all students, and I’m really eager to plant seeds that may blossom into full programs, and spread widely, in the future.
How or why did you decide on this career?
When I was in 4th Grade at Holden Elementary School, my class made a yearbook. There was a feature where students predicted each other’s future career, and it said I would be an English teacher! I think that’s because I was correcting people’s grammar, which I don’t recommend as a strategy for making friends… But seriously, I loved language from a very young age. Then, I had the great fortune to attend Longfellow Elementary in Portland for 5th Grade, where they had a French program. That was a real turning point for me, and I never stopped studying languages after that. I went on to get my Bachelor’s in French and German from UMaine and then my Master’s in TESOL from the University of Central Florida. For about ten years, I taught ESOL and trained teachers in Florida, India, Libya, Maine, Morocco, and then Egypt, where I learned Arabic. When I returned to my home state of Maine to put down some roots, I jumped at the chance to continue my career in language education in service of Maine school communities. The perspectives I have gained by living abroad and learning multiple languages have proven invaluable to me in this role. Being at the Department is a privilege and an honor, and I feel so lucky get to do this work every day.
What do you like to do outside of work for fun?
I love to go hiking and camping every chance I get. I’m also a mediocre but enthusiastic singer, and I’ve been known to show up at an open mic now and then.