Archive for January 14th, 2015


Make the Trip!

January 14, 2015

Above and Beyond!

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Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring

Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring

This past Monday night I was driving home in the snowstorm, after meeting all day with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Leadership Team. Catherine Ring, Rob Westerberg, and I started at 8:00 am. We had traveled to Bangor the night before so we could get an early start. At 2:00 pm the rest of the team joined us, including Bill Buzza (on Zoom), Nancy Salmon (who took the bus from Freeport to get there), Jeff Beaudry (who drove up from Portland), Pam Kinsey (who drove down from Easton), and Suzanne Goulet (after meetings at her school in Waterville).

The going was slow since the snow was coming down heavy and the plow trucks hadn’t been out in some time in several towns along the way. I thought about the rest of the team returning to their warm homes in different parts of the state. I was concerned, knowing how treacherous my drive was, that they’d all get home safely. It wasn’t the first time that we had ended an MAAI meeting in a snowstorm.

Nancy Salmon

Nancy Salmon

As I drove, my thoughts turned to the commitment that the MAAI Leadership Team continues to make! They are truly amazing individuals who are knowledgeable, life-long learners, and GREAT collaborators. They are impressive and thoughtful educators from across the state of Maine, willing to “make the trip” on multiple levels. The MAAI journey has been amazing. When Catherine, Rob, and I traveled to Plymouth State University in August 2010, we left very enthusiastic and abuzz about what we had learned and the possibilities for Maine. Our imaginations encouraged us to “dream big” but what has occurred during phases 1, 2, 3, and now 4 is not about our imaginations (only), but the collaboration of so many who are dedicated to excellent arts education for all students!


Pam Kinsey

If you’ve participated in one or more MAAI opportunities you’ve contributed to the direction of MAAI. You are one of over 1000 arts educators who have taken advantage of the over 100 professional development workshops offered by MAAI. The Leadership Team takes the feedback seriously and incorporates your needs and the needs of education into the professional development opportunities provided. Each phase is built on the successes of the previous year and adds components that we know are in the best interest of Maine educators.

The purpose of our meeting on Monday was to reflect on phase 4 and to begin to prepare for phase 5. This winter the MAAI Teacher Leaders will come together to take the preparation to the next step. The work that they do reaching out and connecting with other arts educators is amazing. If you need assistance, no matter where you live in Maine, with the arts education work you are doing in your school/district, many of them are available to assist. The Teacher Leaders in red on!teacher-leaders/c1qxk are available. As you know, they are providing workshops at the regional and mega-regional level. The mega-regional information is located at

It was clear that the Teacher Leaders are such an integral part of the work that we will be doing

Jeff Beaudry

Jeff Beaudry

a call for others to join the 61 who have participated in the summer institute during the first 4 phases. Perhaps you’d like to join the MAAI and take on a leadership role. We know that it goes way beyond and deeper than learning more about assessment or proficiency-based education. I hear from Teacher Leaders that it includes:

  • Finding your voice so when you return to your school district you have a place at the table.
  • Making connections with people that otherwise you wouldn’t meet.
  • Realizing that you’re not alone.
  • That going deeper with assessment is not more work, but in fact, it makes your jobs easier.
  • Provides the opportunity to learn the why we do something, how to do it, and be the one who is making it happen. Instead of someone telling you that you have to do it.
Bill Buzza

Bill Buzza

And so much more! There is nothing more exciting to me than to hear from a Teacher Leader about how their MAAI journey has made a huge difference, not just for them as a teacher, but for their students!

Let me take this opportunity to THANK the Leadership Team for making the journey – through snow storms, and all! I am so fortunate to work closely with an incredible group of dedicated educators! A special thank you to Bill Buzza who is stepping down from the Leadership Team. And, another to past Leadership Team members, Bronwyn Sale and Matt Doiron, and our long distance member, Barb Vinal from North Carolina!

If you have questions about how to get more involved or to become an MAAI Teacher Leader, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Suzanne Goulet

Suzanne Goulet





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