Archive for May 5th, 2016


In Today’s News

May 5, 2016

Congratulations Rose – Maine’s 2016 State POL Champ

Press Release
Subject: Announcing the 2016 Poetry Out Loud National Champion

Last night, May 4, 2016, Akhei Togun, age 17, a senior at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, VA won the title of 2016 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Togun won the final round with “Bereavement,” by William Lisle Bowles.

2016-pol-53-champs-largeThe second-place winner was Marta Palombo, 18, a senior at Cambridge High School in Alpharetta, Georgia.  The third-place winner was Nicholas Amador, age 15, a sophomore at Punahou High School in Honolulu, HI.

Students and schools received $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each received $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists received $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

In honor of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, this year the 53 state champions competing at the National Finals were offered another opportunity to showcase their creativity through an optional competition called Poetry Ourselves. The teens were encouraged to submit an original work of poetry in two categories–written poems or spoken word–both of which were judged by noted poet Patricia Smith. Rose Horowitz of Maine placed first in the written category, while second place went to Hunter Hazelton of Arizona. In the spoken category, top honors went to Maddie Lukomski of South Dakota, with Madison Heggins of Texas earning second place.

Now celebrating its eleventh year of national competition, Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are the culmination of a yearlong poetry education program involving some 317,000 students from more than 2,300 high schools around the country.  High school teachers who want to learn how to get involved in next year’s program can visit

Read more about the 2016 Poetry Out Loud National Finals at the NEA Art Works blog.

Photos and video of the nine finalists from the May 3 semifinals and May 4 finals are available at this link.


Thank You Teachers

May 5, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Week

imagesI hope that you receive the shiniest and most delicious apple this week from someone who really cares about you. If you don’t, please imagine me presenting you one with a giant hug and a THANK YOU! I know that the path of educational excellence is through teachers who have taken on the challenge and joys of teaching.

Many of you know that I am supportive of the shift to a focus on the importance on leadership in education. Leadership takes on many forms. Some educators lead within their classroom to expand students horizons, always striving to find new ways to help students succeed. Others take on leadership responsibilities within their schools and/or districts. The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) has provided multiple opportunities for educators to step up and take on leadership roles. I believe that everyone has the potential for leadership. I’ve seen plenty of examples of teachers who join MALI and find their voices and go back to their districts and are given leadership roles. They are invited to sit at the table and participate in conversations that are game changers. MALI recognizes and celebrates the good work that Maine educators are doing in their classrooms across the state.

MALI_V3_Color_100ppiThis Friday is the deadline for two MALI opportunities. One is for PK-12 visual and performing arts teachers to apply to be a MALI Teacher Leader. The details of what this involves are located at in a blog called Calling All Teacher Leaders. The second opportunity is for Teaching Artists to become Teaching Artist Leaders (TAL). The details and what this involves are located at in a blog called Calling Teaching Artist Leaders. The second is new territory for MALI and I am excited about the possibilities! Please be sure and email me at if you have any questions about these professional development opportunities.

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Maine’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Talya Edlund (in blue)

MALI is fully committed to leadership since the impact of influencing leaders is making a huge difference at the district and school level due to the commitment of Teacher Leaders. Ultimately the work of the MALI Teacher Leaders is impacting students education in the arts!

On Tuesday, Talya Edlund, a third-grade teacher at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth was honored as the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year, along with teachers from every state at a White House ceremony with President Obama. The ceremony recognized the National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, a history teacher from the John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, CT. During the ceremony President Obama shared this quote that I love by President John F. Kennedy.

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 7.44.17 AMEveryday each teacher has the potential to influence and shape our nation by the teaching you do. Our young people are our greatest resource and we owe it to them to be the best that we can be at teaching. Thank you for the amazing work you do inspiring and changing student’s lives, going above and beyond day in and day out, for the long days you put in, for the collaboration with your colleagues, the interactions with parents, and for all the things you do as a teacher that go unnoticed. My appreciation for you goes deep and wide – THANK YOU!

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