Employee of the Week: Nate Menifield

Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Nate Menifield is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week. Get to know a little more about Nate through this brief question and answer:

What are your roles with DOE?

As the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, I primarily support teachers of music, visual art, theatre, and dance in Maine’s Pre-K-12 public schools in a variety of ways ranging from designing professional learning opportunities to managing arts-related initiatives. Additionally, I serve as the Regional Education Representative for Cumberland County; a valuable chance to meet with that region’s superintendents and curriculum coordinators once each month.

 What do you like best about your job?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I find the most joy  – at work and elsewhere – in my relationships with the people around me. Since joining the DOE last July, I’ve quickly grown to appreciate and admire the dedication and expertise of my incredible colleagues, each of whom contributes something uniquely valuable to the collective work that we do. Beyond the office, I’ve discovered that I feel most energized by my direct interactions with our state’s educators and young artists. There are amazing levels of support, creativity, and passion being fostered in arts classrooms all over Maine. If you want to be inspired, go observe a rehearsal or attend an art exhibit – you won’t regret it!

 How or Why did you decide on this career?

I’ve long maintained the belief that, for me, educating others is more a personality trait than a career choice. Throw in the fact that I’ve always been “artsy,” and my tenure in arts education only makes sense! From my days as a young musician in Aroostook County to the nine years I spent teaching music to high school students in Southern Maine, I’ve had a rare and extended opportunity to witness the unique joys and the challenges facing arts education throughout our state. Over the years, though, one thing that’s remained clearly evident and remarkably consistent is that Maine arts educators are among the most dedicated, talented individuals you could ever hope to meet. So, when the opportunity to support them from the state level presented itself, I was both honored and humbled by the chance to give something meaningful back to the many educators who have given so much to me and many other generations of students.

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

I’m a classically trained singer, so a lot of my time outside of cubicle #56 is spent rehearsing, performing, and occasionally guest conducting choirs. Other things to know? I also love traveling, am a big foodie, have enjoyed baking since I was a kid, and am dad to a rambunctious but adorable black lab mix named Toby. Stop by and share your interests any time!

 

Employee of the Week: Mary Adley

Mary Adley, Coordinator of State Agency Programs and Special Projects, is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week. Get to know a little more about Mary.

Q: What are your roles with DOE?

A: I am the Coordinator of State Agency Programs and Special Projects. My team provides oversight to educational programming for State Wards and State Agency Clients, which includes the General Supervision System of Monitoring for Maine’s approved Special Purpose Private Schools. My team also offers special education technical assistance, professional development, and support to Maine educators, students, and families. My team coordinates the Surrogate Parent program for State Wards. I work collaboratively with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate services for Maine’s children in their departments care or custody. The coordination of special projects is new to me and my team, effective the last week in March, when Tracy Whitlock begins at DOE as the Education Specialist III, to manage the projects. We look forward to continuing the facilitation of the Math4ME and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports projects.

I serve as Maine’s Co-Lead on the Results-Based Accountability cohort, along with Roberta Lucas, working with the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) regarding tiered monitoring with development and movement towards implementation based on integrating Maine’s data in the current primarily compliance monitoring system.

I serve as a Co-Chair, along with John Coyne from the Department of Corrections, on the Project IMPACT Board. Project IMPACT staff coordinate the provision of special education services to students who are detained with their schools of residence and facilitate the educational transitions of youth in the juvenile justice system back to their communities. I also work collaboratively with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, as the Governor appointed Department of Education Representative on the State Rehabilitation Council.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: I love that I continue to work with the incredible educators that serve Maine’s most vulnerable youth, and that I am able to be part of collaborative conversations and transformational work that improves special education and related services for Maine’s children. In addition, I like the variety of situations I encounter within my roles and responsibilities – no two days (or scenarios) are the same; so there is never a chance for boredom to set in.

Q: How or Why did you decide on this career?

A: I worked as an educator in Maine for three decades, as a special educator and an administrator in both the public and the private sector, prior to joining the Department. I was the Education Director at Spurwink’s Chelsea Day Treatment Program for two and a half years before I came to work at DOE. Having been through the audit process with glowing reviews in both of my times working at Special Purpose Private Schools (1996-2002 and 2014-2017), it seemed like a natural progression to pursue when I was informed of my predecessor’s retirement. I love that I am able to impact the education of Maine children in a larger scope than my previous positions afforded.

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

A: When I am not working, I love to spend time making memories with family members and friends – travel, spend time outside soaking up the sunshine, hike, read, and attend concerts and theater productions.

Employee of the Week: Sarah Adkins

Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator, is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week. Get to know a little more about Sarah through this brief question and answer:

What are your roles with DOE?

I help schools and families in understanding Maine’s anti-bullying law; provide guidance to schools in regards to Student Behavior data collection – bullying, violent and harmful behavior, and restraint & seclusion; assist schools and parents in understanding Chapter 33 (Restraint and Seclusion); and support Maine’s school counselors in their role of providing academic interventions, social/emotional learning, and college and career readiness to students PreK-12th grade.

What do you like best about your job?

Interacting with parents, school leaders, and school counselors in finding ways to best support, help, and understand Maine’s students so that school is a safe, welcoming, and encouraging learning environment.

How or why did you decide on this career?

School is essential in providing not only relevant and meaningful academics but also experiential activities that develop well-rounded and happy children and adolescents.  I chose to have a career path in the field of education in which hard work and patience in needed in order to make sure all Maine kids are learning, that they are happy, and are provided opportunities to show and demonstrate their talents.  Maine kids are great and I am dedicated to the work in education that brings out the best in every Maine kid and those adults who work with them every single day.

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

Skiing, kayaking, shopping at Goodwill, going on family adventures, camping, completing house projects, and attending sporting events for all four of my children

Maine DOE Employee of the Week: Adriane Ackroyd

Adriane Ackroyd
Adriane Ackroyd

Adriane Ackroyd, Maine Department of Education’s Food Service Program Coordinator is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week. Get to know a little more about Adriane through the brief question and answer:

Q: What are your roles with DOE?

A: I am the Summer Food Service Program Coordinator for Department of Education Child Nutrition. I also assist Walter Beesley, the Director, with his duties, as well as monitor other United States Department of Agriculture programs that operate in Maine schools.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: I am a people person, so enjoy any opportunity I have to work with others, whether that is through training or program outreach. I also enjoy seeing our school nutrition programs and Summer programs shine. It brings me so much joy to see others succeed.

Q: How or why did you decide on this career?

A: I am a food loving Registered Dietitian and have a Master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition. I have always been drawn to community work and feel that what we can accomplish through the Department of Education can have huge impacts on the health of Maine children.

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

A: I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband, Kyle, and our 3 year old son, Cove. I’m an amateur vegetable gardener who (sometimes frustratingly) enjoys coming up with creative ways to grow food on a wooded plot of land. I also enjoy coming up with creative ways to cook said harvest. To blow off steam, I love a good run, or really any exercise that gets those feel good endorphins flowing.