Honoring RISE Award Finalist Andrew Hutchins From Mt. Blue

Andrew (Andy) Hutchins is a dedicated Food Services Director for Regional School Unit 9 in Mt. Blue. He was nominated for the RISE Award and honored by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) as a finalist. The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Amanda Barry, Theresa True and Cindy Fortier, colleagues and community members nominated Andy for the award. Here are a few of their thoughts about him:

“No matter how busy he is he is always going to every school in our district to make sure everything is all set and making sure things are running as smooth as possible. When faced with a problem he is quick to resolve. He is committed is roll as Food Director of RSU 9.”

“He excels in everything. He is generous and patient. He has a calming demeanor. Has an excellent can do attitude that spreads to his employees.”

“When COVID reared its ugly head in March Andy was there pushing, working all hours to make sure that we all had a plan to be able to make sure we would be able to get meals to our community children. We had handfuls of volunteers within a day.”

“He is a pleasure to work for/with, the way he treats and acts around people make it easy for people to want to lend a helping hand when there is more work to be done.”

“He is an amazing human who is always pushing forward for the best for the students and his employees.”

When asked what he loves most about his job, this is what Andy had to say:

“School nutrition programs provide such an essential service in our communities. I am blessed to lead a team of foodservice heroes who deliver that service every day with a smile.”

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.

Honoring RISE Award Finalist Susan Lombardo From Westbrook

Susan Lombardo is a hard-working Ed Tech at Congin School in the Westbrook School Department. She was recently nominated for the RISE Award and honored by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) as a finalist. The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Katlyn Preston and Angela Pecoraro, colleagues from school, nominated Susan and Principal Jennifer Mull-Brooks endorsed the nomination. Here are a few thoughts they shared about Susan.

“Susan Lombardo is a compassionate, caring, and dedicated educator who goes above and beyond each and every day for her students in the K-4 functional life skills classroom. She demonstrates a warmth and loving presence towards her children (with various developmental delays) as she helps them navigate their daily routine so they can grow to become independent and productive citizens.”

“Sue teaches her children the importance of grit and perseverance and she is determined to help them succeed no matter what their disability is. Sue always treats them with respect and kindness, no matter what challenges are being presented on any given day. She does all this with a contagious smile and great sense of humor.”

“A common phrase is “I want to be Sue Lombardo when I grow up” amongst the younger teachers. Everyone you talk to will tell you “she’s amazing! She’s so patient and so kind but firm. I don’t know how she hits the balance just right.”

When asked what she loves most about her job, this is what Susan had to say:

“This job started as a long-term substitute position when my youngest child started school and turned into a job that brings me more rewards than I could ever have imagined.  I am considered a teacher to these special children who live with autism; however I find that I learn so much from them.  Each child is unique, presenting strengths and challenges in their learning.   My job is to not only help them learn and socialize to the best of their abilities, but to advocate for them and teach others about what they need to succeed.”

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.

Honoring RISE Award Finalist Rebekah Stephens From Lewiston

Rebekah (Becca) Stephens is a hard-working Ed Tech at McMahon Elementary School in Lewiston Public Schools. She was recently nominated for the RISE Award and honored by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) as a finalist. The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Rebecca Fournier, a colleague nominated Becca. Here are a few thoughts from Rebecca about why she nominated Becca.

“Becca demonstrates that Ed Techs are skilled professionals, by lesson planning, implementing curriculum, and being a liaison between the community and school for parents and families.”

“Becca is a part of the after-school programming at McMahon- through 21st century and routinely engages in community and school activities. She is actively involved in many committees including the Union and helped create a clothing closet for students in need in our school.”

“Becca garners support from our school administrators due to her exemplary work. Many coworkers seek Becca out for her advice on Union and family/community matters.”

When asked what she loves most about her job, this is what Becca had to say:

“What I love most about my job is the growth I get to see in my students. Not only academically but socially and emotionally. I also enjoy making connections with students and working with the students one on one.”

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.

Honoring RISE Award Finalist Jim DuDevoir From Auburn

Jim DuDevoir is a dedicated School Custodian at Sherwood Heights Elementary School in the Auburn School District. He was recently nominated for the RISE Award and named a finalist by Maine Department of Education (DOE). The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Breann Crocker, an educator at Sherwood Heights Elementary nominated Jim. Here are a few thoughts from Breann about why she nominated Jim.

“Jim goes above and beyond to help everyone at school. From moving furniture, fixing sinks, hanging curtains, whiteboards, and more, he is always there when we need him.”

“Jim makes it a point of coming to school events. He helps get everything set up for these community events ahead of time and cleans up after.”

“He comes in on the weekends if a teacher is having an issue with the school alarm. He comes in at all hours to fix water leaks and anything else that needs repair. He makes sure we are safe and well taken care of in our school.”

“Everyone in our building loves Jim because he truly shows he cares about everyone. He is always there when we need him. He never complains and he makes it so that we can focus on teaching the children and not have to worry about the building itself. Our school would not be what it is without him.”

When asked what he loves most about his job, this is what Jim had to say:

“Here at Sherwood, I feel like I make a difference. I do my best to keep things running smoothly for the staff and help out as much as I can. If they don’t have to worry about all the little things, then they can concentrate on teaching the kids, and that’s why we’re all here: to make sure the kids get what they need.”

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.

Honoring RISE Award Nominee Bonnie Fortin From Moscow

Bonnie Fortin is a dedicated Administrative Assistant for Moscow Elementary School in MSAD 13. She was recently nominated for the RISE Award and selected by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) as one of Maine’s Nominees. Her story was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for consideration for the national level RISE Award. The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Wendy Belanger, a colleague from MSAD 13 nominated Bonnie for the award. Here are a few thoughts from Wendy about why she nominated Bonnie.

“Bonnie is someone that is always willing do the extra.  We are a very small district and I often ask Bonnie to make posters, signs, coversheets, etc for district plans, handbooks.  She prepares district staff and student handbooks on an annual basis.  She monitor’s the Moscow school budget to the penny.  We have completed many parent survey’s in last 6 months regarding internet connections, free meals, etc.  Bonnie takes the time to call each parent to ensure that the district has accurate data.” 

“Bonnie organizes our school food pantry. She coordinates with the local town food bank to distribute our leftover food so they may share it with the general community. She has even taken food donations to local elderly resident. The students look to her for security and comfort.”

“Bonnie is a veteran and takes time out of her workday to assist the fourth grade students with learning about the proper care of the flag and shares her vast knowledge. She is a true role model for our students.”

“There are very few people that make an impact in the way Bonnie does in a school. She is the core of our school community. She is so approachable and often after a child has moved on from our school, parents and caregivers will still reach out to Bonnie for information and assistance with numerous things. She is always willing to assist them. Moscow Elementary is very lucky to have her.”

When asked what she loves most about her job, this is what Bonnie had to say:

“I cannot quite pinpoint, it’s not as simple as the joy I get in creating documents to simplify someone’s day or putting together databases to show them how much their job means.  I’m fortunate enough to wear many hats in my position; I love assisting staff, students, and parents in any way possible to make their lives a bit easier.  I enjoy seeing how each of us within the school touches the lives of students, and the positive impacts made in the simplest of ways. I love connecting with parents, letting them know their children are respected, and watching how fast they grow. 

Again, I am honored to be submitted for the RISE Award for Inspiring School Employees, this honor to me is a true reflection of the teamwork at Moscow Elementary.” 

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.