Posts Tagged ‘2020 York County Teacher of the Year’

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CONGRATS Rob!

May 15, 2020

York County Teacher of the Year!

When a visual or performing arts teacher is nominated for Maine Teacher of the Year it is an honor that all arts educators share! The person represents our profession first and foremost as a teacher, and specifically as an arts teacher. This year one of our own was nominated and has been selected as the 2020 York County Teacher of the Year – CONGRATULATIONS Rob Westerberg! Rob has been Choral Director at York High School since 2000 and has been teaching since 1998. He has been representing all of us in our profession for many years on a variety of levels. He has taken on leadership roles at the classroom, school, district, state and beyond Maine.

Like many of you he has an impressive resume from his 32 years in the music classroom. There are to many items to include in this blog post. His wide array of experiences have led him to many opportunities to work with colleagues throughout New England, assisting them as they work to refine their craft as well. Rob believes that “every student can achieve high academic standards in choral/vocal pedagogy and technique. Consequently, engaging them in a dynamic environment of best practices that allows them to do so is a lifelong journey and joy for me.” Rob has been recognized and celebrated by his students, parents, administrators, and his colleagues. His voice is strong and his ‘forever learning’ and ‘evolving attitude’ towards education is the foundation for this recognition.

I am proud to know and work with Rob for many years, he and Catherine Ring and I traveled to Plymouth University in August 2010 where the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative idea was hatched. Now nine years old, the initiative thrives thanks to the work of Rob and the many teacher leaders in Maine arts education.

SOME OF ROB’S BELIEFS

I am an educator with a demonstrated passion for education and progressive educational issues in Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and student achievement. For 32 years, this dedication has been applied in the public school setting as a music teacher. Yet my accumulated professional experiences have led to many opportunities to work with colleagues throughout New England, assisting them as they work to refine their craft as well. I believe that every student can achieve high academic standards in choral/vocal pedagogy and technique. Consequently, engaging them in a dynamic environment of best practices that allows them to do so is a lifelong journey and joy for me.

The Maine County Teacher of the Year announcement, 14 May 2020. Rob second from right. On left is Kate Smith.

IN THE CLASSROOM – “Working with my Freshman is to begin analyzing who they are as people and what they need in order to become the best selves they can possibly be.”

COLLEAGUES AND COMMUNITYRob has facilitated professional retreats and workshops, developing curriculum and innovative approaches to assessment practices for the Visual and Performing Arts. His work impacts educators and even administrators in how they approach what they do. He empowers them to make a difference in their own settings and bring each of them to a new place in their craft. At York High School Rob led the work implementing the first public High School graduation requirement for music in the northeast. In 2010 the school  completed a $2.3 million music instructional space added to YHS, and in 2017 the Community Auditorium was opened and it has already become the cultural and creative center of the entire community.

CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENTOne of Rob’s many strengths is his ability to break  down instruction and assessment practices in ways which truly accommodates those of us in the arts. He has felt for many years that all around us there are well intentioned but flawed arts programs which are really co-curricular activities “cleverly disguised” as academic programs. He believes that the fault lies in pre-service teacher training, where the emphasis is to further our craft as performers and artists, rather than as educational specialists. “The missing piece has been authentic and viable approaches to instruction and assessment which connect the two together.”

Rob and Argy at Maine Music Educators Association conference, UMaine 2010

STATE CONTRIBUTIONSRob co-founded the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) in 2010 with this in mind: “to work with colleagues, allowing them to re-design their own assessment practices so that student growth is furthered, instructional practices are strengthened, and new connections of learning are created.” Bringing added integrity to arts education while “keeping it real” by designing assessment strategies which are both manageable and authentic continues to be a strength of mine.

EDUCATION – Master of Music Degree, Choral Conducting, UMaine 1996 and Bachelor of Music Degree, Music Education, Keene State College 1987

MAINE TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM

I will keep you posted on the Maine Arts Ed blog and periodically share Rob’s adventures during the next year. Rob’s recognition is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to celebrate what is ‘right’ and ‘wonderful’ for education.

Rob in his classroom, 2014

Other arts educators have been recognized by the Maine Teacher of the Year program which was established in 1954. Over the years the program has changed and the county teacher of the year program started in 2014. Below are those honored by the program. (My apology if I missed someone – please let me know)!

  • Bobbi Tardif – 2019 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, visual arts
  • Shawn Rice – 2019 Androscogin County Teacher of the Year, visual arts
  • Kaitlin Young – 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, music educator
  • Anthony Lufkin – 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year, visual arts educator
  • David Coffey – 2018 Waldo County Teacher of the Year, music educator
  • Christine Del Rossi – 2018 Sagadahoc County Teacher of the Year, visual arts educator
  • Christi Goosman – 2017 Waldo County Teacher of the Year, theatre educator
  • Andrew Forster – 2016 Kennebec County Teacher of the Year, music educator
  • Susan Beaulier – 2015 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year, visual arts educator
  • Kate Smith – 2014 York County Teacher of the Year, music educator
  • Bill Buzza – 2011 Finalist Maine Teacher of the Year, music educator
  • Jayne Quinn Sawtelle – 2010 Semi-Finalist Maine Teacher of the Year, music educator
  • Charlie Johnson – 2008 Finalist Maine Teacher of the Year, visual arts educator
  • Marguerite Lawler-Rohner – 2004 Maine Teacher of the Year, visual arts educator
  • Doug Clapp – 1995 Finalist Maine Teacher of the Year, theatre educator
  • Argy Nestor – 1995 Maine Teacher of the Year, visual arts educator
  • Charles Seymour – 1986 Maine Teacher of the Year, music educator
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