Employee of the Week: Sheryl Banden

 

Maine DOE Office Associate Sheryl Banden is this week’s Employee of the Week! Learn a little bit more about Sheryl in this brief question and answer:Image of Employee of the Week Sheryl Bandan

What are your roles with the DOE?

For the past 14 years I have worked in various teams at the Maine Department of Education to provide the field with efficient and effective customer service. My customer service work on behalf of DOE began as Department’s Receptionist. From this position I have held worked with the Federal Programs Team, Special Services, the Commissioners office and more recently have been working with the Certification office to assist the Certification Team with the implementation of the new Teacher Certification software: MEIS.  Just last week I was assigned to support the Educator Excellence Team.  In this role, I act as key support for this team’s work – which includes providing Maine Educators with high quality professional development opportunities, strengthening the teaching profession through teacher recruitment and retention efforts – and elevating/celebrating the teaching profession.  These are exciting times to be in the teaching profession; please stay tuned for more specific details about upcoming projects in this initiative area!

What do you like best about your job?

I respect the excellent work that the whole of Maine DOE consistently produces and delivers.  I admire the dedication and commitment to quality project outcomes  ever present in all of Maine DOE’s employees’ work.  I love the energy and excitement in Certification’s Educator Effectiveness Team!  I enjoy working in this type of positive environment.

We continually strive to improve Maine education by ensuring a safe, quality learning environment.  This is the kind of job I have always wanted!

Employee of the Week: Courtney Baehr

Maine DOE Certification Specialist Courtney Baehr is this week’s Employee of the Week! Learn a little bit more about Courtney in this brief question and answer:

What are your roles with DOE?

I work in the Certification office and ensure that all educators are properly credentialed. My main focus is to review the background checks of all applicants to ensure it falls within state and federal policies. I have performed all jobs in the certification office and continue to assist the office regarding rule changes, implementing policies and procedures, and assisting to create the new credentialing system that will help the field in processing their credentials.

What do you like best about your job?

Knowing that I am protecting students and helping the educators obtain their credentials. The certification process can be confusing at times, and I love to help the educators walk through the process and explain the rules and laws that are involved with obtaining their credentials. I feel like I’ve done my job for the day if I am able to help an educator understand the process and leave them with a better understanding of how the laws work for each endorsement we offer. I always like to hear the “Ah ha!” moment when an educator finally understands the process. It makes it a good day.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I kind of fell into the Department initially when I transferred from Maine Revenue Services in 2008. I started working in Certification as an office associate and worked my way up to my current position. I have a customer service and military background with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from USM. Having spent 8 years in the US Coast Guard doing search and rescue and previous to that working in hotels for almost 10 years, my unique background not only helps me in my research performing background checks but also allows me to give the utmost customer service to the field. I’ve stayed in the office for so long because I truly believe in the effectiveness of the office and love that every day there is something new to learn.  As we’ve said for years, “there is never a dull moment in Certification”.

Employee of the Week: Tyler Backus

Tyler Backus is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week this week. Get to know a little more about Tyler through this brief question and answer:

What are your roles with DOE?

I oversee the School Finance & Compliance teams. We ensure each of the school districts submit accurate information that informs the school funding formula. A major focus for my role is the financial information that is submitted each year. What that really means is I get to talk with business managers, accounting managers, superintendents, special education directors, and lots of other school staff to ensure they understand how the information they submit impacts the state’s funding formula. I also am the Military Family Liaison for the State of Maine, where I get to work with the School Liaison Officer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to help students of military personnel during their transition into and out of Maine schools.

What do you like best about your job?

I really enjoy interacting with the field. Maine’s school funding formula is considered one of the most equitable funding formulas in the country, but to achieve that equity it is an extremely complex formula. That means most people do not understand the formula. So I love explaining the funding formula to anybody who is willing to take the time to learn it. I also enjoy coming up with creative ways to explain the formula, even with the use of food.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I do not know that I necessarily decided on this career. After leaving the Army (driving M1A1 Abram tanks) I started at UMF for Secondary Education Math, and after a couple of changes in major and a deployment to Iraq, I ended up with Political Science degree. I worked for 18 months at Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices reviewing financial submissions for legislative candidates. I then was hired by Jan Breton to review the use of Individual of Disability Education Act funding. During that time I visited about 75 school districts, where I got to interact with business managers, special education directors, and superintendents. During the time in this role I got to learn parts of the funding formula and account coding for school departments. When a position opened up on the School Finance team I applied for the position.

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

Outside of work I mostly focus on my soon to be 6 year old son. I enjoy trying to get him excited about learning and trying different activities, some of which he still enjoys like soccer and swimming. I enjoy attempting to stay in shape (but I hate the gym) so I try different workout routines, running, bicycling, and playing soccer. I also enjoy trying to do my own work around the house including replacing the bathroom in our house, building a patio (including moving around 100 yards of material), pouring a 400 sq. ft concrete slab after building up the base, and this summer building a shed on the slab. Working in an office all day, I find it enjoyable to use as little mechanical assistance while doing these projects at home, and it also provide an opportunity for my son to help. We also get out camping as much as possible during the summer.

Employee of the Week: Jean Zimmerman

Health Education and Physical Education Consultant, Jean Zimmerman is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week this week. Get to know a little more about Jean through this brief question and answer:

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Health Education and Physical Education Consultant and also am a co-chair of the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey(MIYHS). MIYHS is self-reported student behavior data that is essential for targeted policies and practices.

What do you like best about your job?

There is so much variety in job responsibilities. I also feel strongly about the importance of lifetime health literacy and physical literacy and encouraging teachers to take leadership roles in the field.

Jean and Oscar!

How or why did you decide on this career?

Ever since elementary school, I always wanted to be a teacher. There is something very powerful about making connections with students and providing positive experiences.

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

I have a black pug, Oscar, who loves to go for walks. I also enjoy playing golf and reading.

Employee of the Week: Michael Ashmore

Michael Ashmore, Program Development & Training Officer for the Maine Commission for Community Service is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week this week. Get to know a little more about Michael through this brief question and answer:

What is your role with the State of Maine?

I work for the Maine Commission for Community Service, a partner agency of the Maine DOE.  My role with the Commission is as the Program Development & Training Officer.  In this role I provide outreach to community agencies regarding the opportunities the Commission provides (grants, National Service support, training) and I am the trainer and technical assistance provider for Service Enterprise and for our grantees, among other things.

What do you like best about your job?

I love helping community agencies build their capacity to engage and utilize the skills of volunteers and to help them develop more volunteer opportunities here in the state.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I was a public educator for 2 decades and then moved into nonprofit management.  I became connected to the work of the Commission as a grant recipient and then moved to the Commission as grants Officer ten years ago.  I appreciate the value of service and the importance of volunteerism in keeping communities healthy, vibrant and resilient so it is rewarding work.

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

I love to hike and to read, to spend time with my three children; and cooking is a passion of mine.