Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Marcy Whitcomb

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

What are your roles with DOE? 

I sit on the Early Learning Team, as the Early Childhood Monitor.  My position is to connect with public pre-k programs across our state for monitoring, observation and support around best practice.  I also work closely with our team, and other agencies on initiatives that also support the field, children, and families in our state.

What do you like best about your job?

This is a field that I am very passionate about.  I love the inclusion within the Early Learning team, and the support that I receive from my colleagues.  I enjoy working on each and every project that comes my way.  Being in a position to support our educators in the field is an honor.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I chose the EC field as my career when my youngest entered into preschool at 3 years old.  Learning how important those early formative years are for children, and for my son specifically at the time, was something the really resonated with me.  I started my career in the field as a classroom substitute, and over the years, have held many roles and worn many hats in early childhood programs, which led me to where I am today.

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

I have two teenage children who keep me busy, and I am usually found at a sporting event supporting them.  Living in the mid-coast area, I enjoy the local reserves and trails to the rocky coast, and of course, the beach.  And, finally it is spring and the flowers are coming up – playing in the garden is my happy place.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Ángel Martínez Loredo

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

What are your roles with DOE?

As the Director of Higher Education and Educator Support Services, I have the privilege to work with wonderful leaders in education from the Certification Team, Higher Education, Adult Education and Teacher Excellence that make up the HEESS Team.  Our role is to provide a seamless transition for students attending higher education who are interested in becoming teachers to issuing teaching credentials.  Similarly, Adult Education provides pathways for students to engage higher education to obtain a degree or those also seeking teaching credentials.  Our team recognizes educators who have excelled in the profession through the Teacher of the Year programs and encourage others to seek National Board Credentials.  Together, our goal is to provide the State of Maine classrooms with qualified teachers.  The team is very committed to Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), many participate in the DEI programs sponsored by the Department.

What do you like best about your job?

The best part of my job is being able to connect with so many people across the state that have a passion for education.  From the person calling to ask for certification information to the university faculty conducting research on innovative teaching to the adult learner interested in a career in science -all affirm that our team positively impacts the educational enterprise of our state.  I also enjoy our team’s interactive leadership meetings every Monday morning.  Everyone shares one weekend activity, their proud moment for the week, their challenge for week and the solution.  We support each other and plan accordingly-for me this is the best part of my job.

How or why did you decide on this career?

Growing up I was very fortunate that my parents believed in education and pushed me to attend college.  Once there I became active in social justice organizations challenging higher education institutions to provide better access for students of color.  After several on and off campus protests, I was called to the “President’s Office” to discuss my social disobedient campaigns.  Interestingly enough he admired my passion and suggested that I consider a career in student affairs.  This started my path in working with student leaders at El Centro College, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston, the University of Maine and the Maine Department of Education.

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

Outside of the DOE, I enjoy cooking all types of foods and hosting dinner parties at my house for friends.  Family is very important to me and I try to spend time with them as well as my extended family.  Since the extended family is large are spread all over (before COVID) I enjoyed visiting them.  I am very active at my church with Hispanic Ministry and Hospice Ministry.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Nicole Madore

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

What are your roles with DOE?

As the Early Childhood Specialist, I assist districts in the operation of their high-quality early child programs in Pre-K-grade 3. I work to offer professional learning opportunities, resources and technical assistance to the field. I am also a part of the Early Learning Team at the department where I work with my team to continue our own professional education and offer expertise to the field.

What do you like best about your job?

The best part of my job is interacting with teachers! I love being a thought partner with them as well as their “go-to” for anything and everything early childhood. They’re walking the walk and I love hearing directly from them about their experiences…good and bad! We all learn from listening to those in the field doing the work every day and applying to the experience of others.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I wanted to work with young children from an early age. I thought I wanted to be a 3rd grade classroom teacher after having a wonderful experience in my own life, but after a few years of that I decided to move to a different role, one where I could interact with more teachers, students and their families. I never stop learning about child development and best practices in the classroom setting, so getting to learn and share that with others is very rewarding.

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

I’m not going to lie, I love a random lazy weekend! Otherwise, my husband and I stay busy with our two children. If we’re not driving to dance rehearsal or basket/base/football practice, then we’re probably at home planning our next getaway to the lakes in Western Maine. We live for Maine spring and summer and enjoy boating, fishing and more recently have begun hiking up mountains with our dog, Echo. Really any excuse to unplug and reset.

Get to know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Robin Kerber

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

What are your roles with DOE?

I work with Maine schools and farmer/producers/fishermen to get more Maine food into our schools. I’m part of the Maine Farm to School Network and manage the Harvest of the Month program, a statewide initiative challenging schools and child care sites to highlight a different local ingredient each month. I really love my job because I get to use my background in Culinary Arts to help education school nutrition staff on how to cook with Maine ingredients, and I also get to help support our farmers by connecting them to new markets.

What do you like best about your job?

Exposing our school nutrition staff to more local ingredients and helping them gain the skills and confidence to incorporate them on their menus. We are so lucky to have farmers and producers that grow and raise a huge variety of food for us! We recently partnered with a nonprofit that works to support our fishermen, and schools and childcare sites received free locally-caught fish! It directly supported the fishermen and it was so fun to work with nutrition directors and staff to come up with recipes that the students would like. It was the perfect marriage of supporting our local economy and feeding healthy, nutritious food to our kids!

How or why did you decide on this career?

I went to The Culinary Institute of America for Baking and Pastry, then Drexel University for Restaurant Management. I spent about a decade working in kitchens across the US, and eventually found that growing food was just as satisfying as cooking it – and a little less cutthroat. I began working on a variety of different farms including produce, dairy, livestock, and even fishing. I think this varied background and understanding of Maine’s different farming sectors prepared me to work with farm to school programs in the state.

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

I stay busy restoring my 1800’s farmhouse and land with many homesteading projects. I love to travel more than anything, and am training to become an international trip leader (side gig, I won’t be leaving my job for it!) and currently lead local backpacking and skiing trips.

Get to know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Staci Warren

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

What are your roles with DOE? 

I’m the secretary specialist supervisor for the Office of School and Student Supports and Maine School Safety Center.

What do you like best about your job?

I never knew there were so many different aspects of the DOE. I work with some amazing people who do amazing things, and that makes me proud to be part of the team. There is never a dull moment. From webpage design, administrative work, contracts, invoices, and special projects, I get to use many of my skills and that keeps the work interesting.

How or why did you decide on this career?

Before I earned my degree and the entire time I was in college, my life was in the administrative field. I have a long record of project management and managing people, and this seemed like a good fit.

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

I love the outdoors; it’s my true happy place. When I’m not working I’m camping, fishing, hunting, foraging for wild mushrooms. I’m a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association and in my otherwise free time, I am a free-lance outdoor writer and blogger. I am co-founder of the non-profit Women of the Maine Outdoors, an organization that expands opportunities for women and girls in the Maine outdoors. Just before the pandemic started, I became a volunteer instructor for Maine IFW and I’m anxiously awaiting the chance to share my knowledge of the outdoors once classes begin again.