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”.

Nobleboro K-8 School Partners with Kieve

Submitted by Kris Harriman, Librarian at the Nobleboro Central School Library in AOS 93.

Two familiar faces have returned to Nobleboro Central School (NCS) as part of an ongoing partnership between NCS and mentors from The Leadership School at Kieve. The collaboration was launched through discussions between former NCS Principal and current AOS 93 staff member, Ann Hassett and Kieve’s Director of Education & Operations, Charlie Richardson.

Noah Dines and Nelson Bandy are Kieve educators in residence who once again will support students and staff at NCS. Dines will remain at the school until the end of May this year, while Bandy will finish up in March.

The friendly duo attend school daily starting in January and take part in lunch, recess, field trips, and other special activities. They also visit general and special education classrooms from kindergarten through grade 8, and the school’s Center For Alternative Learning (CAL).

They often can be found playing on the playground during recess, opening milk cartons at lunch, and joining in a competitive game during a physical education class. They helped cook and serve green eggs and ham in the school library to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss in March.

Their most ambitious project is the popular after-school program they run Mondays through Thursdays at NCS. They provide healthy snacks and lead students in games and activities both indoors and outdoors. They organize games in the gymnasium, bake bread, talk about the “Question of the Day,” and encourage the youth to sample healthy and unfamiliar snacks.

Dines is in his third year at NCS, and Bandy has returned for a second year. They serve as positive role models and mentors for students, and in the past have joined field trips and other off-campus activities such as ice skating and excursions to the Hidden Valley Nature Center
in Jefferson.

This year NCS is affiliated with the Winter Kids program, which means Kieve will be adding additional outdoor activities, Dines said. The annual collaboration is part of a partnership between NCS and Kieve, which is located just down the road in Nobleboro.

For more information visit Kieve’s web page: https://www.kwe.org/blog/uncategorized/winter-2019-eir-conclusion/

Maine’s National Board-Certified Teachers Celebrate at Pinning Ceremony 

 The number one reason we do this (National Board Certification) is the students. Educators are about kids and we want our students to have the best teachers possible,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Director of Outreach and Engagement for the National Board of Professional Standards. Fitzgerald, who traveled to Maine from Washington DC for the event, was one of the featured speakers at the March 29, 2019 ceremony: a celebration honoring and recognizing Maine’s new and renewed National Board-Certified Teachers.

Friends, families, and colleagues throughout the state gathered at Cony High School to attend the ceremony, which was co-sponsored by the National Board-Certified Teachers of Maine Network and the Maine Education Association. Also speaking at the ceremony were Grace Leavitt, NBCT and President of the Maine Education Association; Melissa Guerrette, NBCT and Chair of the Maine NBCT Network; and Constance (Connie) Russell, NBCT and 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. 

In achieving National Board Certification, teachers demonstrated that their teaching meets the profession’s standards for accomplished practice through a rigorous, peer-reviewed and performance-based process, similar to professional certification in fields such as medicine. This comprehensive process includes four components: a computer-based assessment to test content knowledge and three classroom embedded portfolio entries which include student work samples, assessment practices, videos of teaching, and in-depth written reflections. Through the four components, teachers provide evidence of their ability to advance student learning and achievement 

Due to the rigorous and personalized nature of this process, a common sentiment expressed by the speakers was the commitment –mental and emotional—that National Board Certification requires. Russell spoke about feelings of vulnerability and insecurity that arose as she shared her teaching samples at the candidate support workshops, “I was putting my teaching on the big screen, out there in front of people” and yet, as uncomfortable as it was, how she benefited from it, “at school we never had the kinds of conversations I was having with my National Board colleagues—I knew the feedback was making me better—I began craving it.” Fitzgerald echoed Russell, “teacher candidates are always asking, ‘how do I keep getting better, how do I reach higher?” 

The speakers also reflected on the new lens that National Board Certification gave them: a lens in which to view their students, standards, content, and teaching practice. Russel shared, “I started looking at every lesson, bulletin board, field trip, and guest speaker through the lens of how any of these activities would impact student learning.”   

Along with being congratulated and honored for achieving National Board Certification, the speakers told the new NBCTs that this is not the end of the journey. Honorees were encouraged to use their “NBCT-voice” to advocate for their students, schools, and to elevate the teaching profession.  

After the pinning was completed, the new NBCTs were given “tapping cards” – invitations for them to extend to their colleagues to begin their own journey toward National Board Certification.  

Maine’s new 2018 National Board Certified Teachers:

First name Last Name Employer


Employer School
1. Jennifer Dorman RSU 54/MSAD 54 Skowhegan Area Middle School
2. Laura Phelps RSU 1 Phippsburg Elementary School
3. Matthew Leland Lincoln Academy
4. Seth Anderson Lincoln Academy
5. Gayle Martin AOS 92 Winslow Elementary School
6. Kelly O’Brien-Weaver RSU 22/MSAD 22 George B. Weatherbee School
7. Kristin Lorbeski RSU 11/MSAD 11 River View CMTY School
8. Anne Dalphin Portland Public School District Presumpscot Elementary School
9. Hillary Hoyt RSU 22/MSAD 22 Leroy H Smith Elem School
10. Ryan Avery RSU 11/MSAD 11 Gardiner Regional Middle School
11. Patricia Forster Five Town CMTY School District Camden Hills Regional High School
12. Michael Hayashida RSU 16 Poland Regional High School
13. Emily Powers Lewiston Public Schools Gov James B. Longley Elem School
14. Christina Rich RSU 55/MSAD 55 South Hiram Elementary School
15. Courtney Cole RSU 19 Etna-Dixmont Elementary School
16. Rebecca Humphrey Hanaburgh Falmouth School District Falmouth Elementary School
17. Gordon Crosby RSU 16 Poland Regional High School
18. Angela McLaughlin RSU 26 Asa C Adams Elementary School
19. Toni Barboza RSU 19 Etna-Dixmont Elementary School
20. Emilie Throckmorton Bangor School District Bangor High School
21. Luanne Mudgett RSU 55/MSAD 55 Sacopee Valley Middle School
22. Rebecca Maiorano Portland Public School District Presumpscot Elementary School
23. Katie Dutil Augusta School District Lillian P Hussey Elem School
24. Rebekah Brockway RSU 12 Windsor Elementary School
25. Pauline Leadbetter RSU 17/MSAD 17 Harrison Elementary School
26. Marie Dickson Lewiston Public Schools Thomas J McMahon Elem School
27. Venise Philbrick Lewiston Public Schools Martel Elementary School
28. Jennifer Lunt Portland Public School System Portland High School
29. Dawn Pendergrass Biddeford School District Biddeford High School
30. Jason Kash RSU 22/MSAD 22 Reeds Brook Middle School
31. Nell Hermann Union School Dist 93 Blue Hill Consolidated Elem School
32. Megan Markgren Portland Public School District Longfellow Elementary School
33. Sonya Logan RSU 55/MSAD 55 Sacopee Valley Middle School
34. David Boardman AOS 92 Mid-Maine Technical Center

For more information about National Board Certification: 

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards:  https://www.nbpts.org/ 

Tamara Ranger, MDOE Educator Excellence Coordinator:  tamara.ranger@maine.gov 

Melissa Guerrette, Maine NBCT Network Chair: nbct.melissa@gmail.com 

Highlights from Bangor High School

National Art Honor Society members participated in Winterfest, a Downtown winter festival full of games, sales, and events happening in West Market Square and Downtown at large. The student artists created snow sculptures, including a variety of snow people and snow chairs, for visiting children and families to interact with.

Submitted by Kathy Harris-Smedberg, Assistant Superintendent of Schools at Bangor School Department.

World Languages On February 8, all Chinese 1–4 students gathered in the BHS library for an in-school field trip to celebrate the Year of the Pig. Students began the celebration with Chinese New Year songs and greetings. Then they watched a video about the new-year celebration in China. Students wrote calligraphy, did paper cutting and folding, played Chinese games, made Chinese dumplings and mooncakes, and ate authentic Chinese New Year dishes. Students also participated in the lion dance, which represents chasing away evil spirits and welcoming good luck into the New Year.

Kathleen Greenlaw received a Scholastic Art Gold Key award for her work titled Zosia at a formal reception at the Maine College of Art. Her work was presented and discussed in front of a crowd of supporters.

Visual and Performing Arts The University of Maine Museum of Art exhibit opening was another huge success! Every exhibit opening brings more people to appreciate the art our students have created! Each student shared a few words about the meaning behind their artwork and answered questions from those in attendance. The exhibit will remain at the museum until early June.

English As part of Bangor Humanities Day, BHS Humanities Academy students will present posters about their capstone research at the Bangor Public Library on Saturday, March 3. These posters will show the initial research pre-capstone students have engaged in this year, including research about the past, present, and future of political parties, the spread of the English language around the world, and diversity in Maine high schools.

To honor notable African Americans, students created posters and made announcements about achievements by African Americans in science, sports, and education. One local connection is Beryl Williams, who graduated from BHS in 1931 and became the first African-American to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Maine. She went on to have an illustrious career in education, teaching at a number of colleges, and eventually became the first female academic dean at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Skills USA – 11 BHS students received medals in the SkillsUSA competition at the United Technology Center in Bangor.

  • Haley Gould, Gold Medal in Automotive Refinishing
  • Kylie Braley, Gold Medal in Community Service
  • Cameron Dysart, Gold Medal in First Aid / CPR
  • Allison Foster, Gold Medal in Interactive Apps & Gaming
  • Emerson Landon, Gold Medal in Interactive Apps & Gaming
  • Damon Tucker, Gold Medal in Power Equipment Technology (2nd Year)
  • Brittney Pecue, Gold Medal in Robotics Urban Search & Rescue
  • Alejandra Hernandez, Gold Medal in Television Video Production
  • Zachary DeRoche, Silver Medal in Audio Radio Production
  • Noah Braley, Bronze Medal in Medical Terminology
  • Emma Duplain, Bronze Medal in Photography
Junior David Carroll placed fifth nationally in the 2019 US Crystal Growing Competition in the Quality category. BHS Chemistry teacher Dr. Barbara Stewart guided David in the process.

Art – Students in Eric Hutchins art class designed posters to promote school attendance. They worked with Attendance Specialist, Carolyn Sproul, to spread the message of how important it is to attend school.

Chess – Members of the BHS Chess Team too home top honors for the High School Reserve section of the 2019 Maine Scholastic Chess tournament on March 2.

Photo by Gretchen Fleming

The winter sports season at Bangor High School was nothing short of amazing! Bangor continued to add to its championship tradition (106 titles) by capturing two state titles­­: Class A girls’ swim & Class AA boys’ basketball. The Bangor Rams also won four regional championship titles: cheering, girls indoor track, girls’ swimming, and boys’ basketball. The swim teams set state records at the boys’ and girls’ championship meets.

Boys’ Basketball The closeness of the school community was apparent at the Class AA basketball championship in Portland. The band, cheerleaders, student body, and basketball team exhibited awesome energy and demonstrated great school spirit. The boys’ varsity basketball team won the KVAC championship and the Class AA regional championship on its way to the state championship game against Bonny Eagle! Damien Vance scored his 1,000th  career point at the last regular game of the season at Edward Little. Matthew Fleming, who will be attending West Point in the fall, was selected as 2019 Mr. Maine Basketball.

Girls’ Swimming and Diving The girls’ swimming and diving team first won the PVC championship with Mckayla Kendall named Swimmer of the Meet. The team then went on to win the Class A state championship! Rachel Hand set a new school record in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 59.97. Cindi Howard, the girls’ swim coach, was name Coach of the Year.

Girls’ Indoor Track The girls’ indoor track team won the PVC championship. Alyssa Elliott broke a 32 year record by posting a jump of 37 feet, 7 ¼ inches to lead the Bangor Rams to the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League Big Schools championship. Coach Alan Mosca was named the Indoor Track Coach of the Year.

Cheerleading: The varsity cheerleaders were the Class A runner-up at the state championships.


Wrestling Jeffrey: Kirk finished fourth in the 285 lb. weight class at the KVAC wrestling championships at Cony High School on February 2. Additionally, he outscored three other schools in the team points portion of the day!


2019 Maine State KidWind Challenge

More than 80 “windgineers” on 28 teams from York, Topsham, Winslow, Freeport and Portland took part in the 2019 Maine State KidWind Challenge on March 20, at Ocean Gateway in Portland.

The KidWind Challenge is an event that allows students to explore the power of wind by building and testing their own wind turbines.  Daniel Chuhta, the deputy commissioner of the Maine Department of Education attended in the afternoon to watch the action and address the young windgineers.

The top two teams from the middle and high school divisions will be invited to the National KidWind Challenge in Houston, which runs May 21-23.

The Portland Public Schools and KidWind are partnering together to promote and support this STEM education challenge for students around the state.