Posts Tagged ‘Maine 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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Today on Facebook Live

May 14, 2020

Announcement of the County TOYs

Today, Thursday, May 14 at 2:00 p.m. the Maine Department of Education will announce the 2020 Maine County Teachers of the Year. Please join Facebook Live for the announcement!

What: 16 Maine teachers will be announced and honored as part of the Maine Department of Education’s annual Maine County Teachers of the Year awards. The teachers were nominated by a member of their school community, and through a rigorous application process were selected by a panel of teachers, principals, and business community members.

Maine County Teachers of the Year serve as ambassadors for teachers, students, and quality education state-wide. The Maine County Teachers of the Year are available to make presentations to local and regional organizations. Throughout the summer, they will continue to participate in an intensive State Teacher of the Year selection process.

Who: 16 Maine teachers, representing each county in Maine; Maine Department of Education Commissioner, Pender Makin; Executive Director of Educate Maine, Jason Judd; State Board of Education, Martha Harris; 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young; and 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year, Heather Whitaker.

Where: The virtual announcement will be streamed live on the Maine Department of Education Facebook PageThe pictures and a recording of the presentation will also be available after the announcement.

When: Thursday, May 14, 2020 from 2:00pm – 3:30pm

For more information contact Rachel Paling (Maine DOE) at rachel.paling@maine.gov or Dolly Sullivan (Educate Maine) at dolly@educatemaine.org.

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Saying Thank You

March 26, 2020

Message from a Teacher

I am going to start capitalizing the word “Teacher” every time I write or type it. Why? Because I am so impressed by what I see happening because of teachers all over the world. PreK – grade 12 Teachers hopped into this crisis quickly, no hesitation, and are making things happen for learners.

Grades K-8 Music Teacher Kaitlin Young from Sedomocha Elementary and Middle Schools in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine is the 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year and has been recognized for her accomplishments. I am so proud of Kaitlin and the work she does day to day and what she has done for Teachers everywhere. Her messages are clear and ‘spot on’. Recently Kaitlin wrote on her facebook page a message thanking the many unsung heroes in her school district and beyond who are going above and beyond to support children in multiple ways. With her permission I am re-printing her message since I am sure it is something many of us in education are thinking. Thank you Kaitlin for your leadership and commitment to education!

As we begin this new adventure in remote learning here at SeDoMoCha I wanted to post a photo to stand in solidarity with and express my gratitude for all of the incredible teachers within the SeDoMoCha community, across the state of Maine, and beyond.

And when I say “teachers” I mean all of the incredible people who are modeling what it means to be a member of a thoughtful and caring school community. These people are teaching some of the most profound life lessons to everyone around them throughout this challenging time.

Teachers: Administrators, Technology Integrators, School Resource Officers, Nurses, School Counselors, Maintenance Staff, Data Clerks, and Administrative Assistants who have developed and implemented thoughtful response plans all while calmly answering millions of questions from colleagues and the public. They have been putting in a great deal of work and time in behind the scenes. They are making tough decisions and modeling what it means to dig into the challenging work on behalf of our students and our communities.

Teachers: Bus drivers, Food Service Workers, Education Support Staff, Teachers, Families, and Community Members who have swiftly jumped into action to support our students. The outpouring of offers to help connect students and families to the resources they need has been humbling. “What do you need?” “How can I help?” “What if we try this?” And within moments of struggle when people share their frustration (perhaps in not the most kind of ways) I have heard words of empathy, “they must be really hurting or scared because this is challenging.” There has never been a moment when we have doubted the commitment to our kids. They are the faces that greet our families and help them to stay connected to our community. They are flexible, resilient, and empathetic to the needs of others and model what it means to be on the front lines.

And of course our students, our greatest teachers of all. Amidst the chaos, they continue to make us smile as they wave from the backseat of a car during packet pick up, send funny emails full of memes, or simply do or say something silly at home that was communicated through a parent email. As teachers, all of us who work with our students each day, we know that there are many lessons to learn from our resilient, creative, and compassionate students. They are the reason we do this in the first place.

Everyone is stepping out of their comfort zones to face this uncertainty with grace, kindness, and the need for human connection. (Though stay at least six feet away from each other, please!) We are willing to learn with and from each other as is evident from the plethora of resources that have popped up over the last two weeks. We are willing to make mistakes within our own new learning and continue to provide the best instruction we can. The creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration that happen every day in education have been on display throughout this adventure.

I can only speak about SeDoMoCha from the first-hand experience, but from what I have seen and heard from colleagues we are not unique in these efforts.

Over the last week, we have checked in on each other, laughed, cried, and experienced this challenge as a community. Please continue to take care of yourself. Please check in with your colleagues, students, neighbors, friends, and families. Remind yourself and others that we are doing the best we can as we all seek to find a new sense of “normal.” (Though as someone said to me yesterday, “Were we ever really normal?”)

I am proud and grateful to be a member of the SeDoMoCha Community and the broader community of teachers. Stay safe and keep singing

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State of the State Address

January 22, 2020

Celebrating at the Blaine House

Look who was at the Blaine House last night celebrating with the Governor! Heather Whitaker, Maine’s 2020 Teacher of the Year from Gorham Middle School and her colleague and ours and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and Art Teacher of the Year Amy Cousins! Wonderful to know that educators are celebrating with Governor Janet T. Mills.

Amy, Governor, Heather

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Congrats Arts Teachers

May 14, 2019

County Teacher of the Year

Last week at the State House in Augusta the 2019 County Teachers of the Year were named and I’m sure you’ll join me in CONGRATULATING the following visual and/or performing arts teachers who were recognized. Thank you for your amazing work and for representing arts education as your journey continues in the Maine Teacher of the Year program.

  • Androscoggin County: Shawn Rice, Edward Little High School, Auburn, Art/Broadcast Media (grades 9-12)
  • Oxford County: Linda Andrews, Buckfield Junior/Senior High School, Hartford -Sumner Elementary, Gifted Academics and Arts (grades K-12)
  • Piscataquis County: Bobbi Tardif, SeDoMoCha School, Middle School Visual Arts Educator (grades 5-8)

Shawn Rice

Linda Andrews

Bobbi Tardif

Commissioner of Education Pender Makin notes, “The Maine Teacher Of the Year program offers all of us the opportunity to celebrate the phenomenal work that is being accomplished every day in Maine’s public schools. Each of the County Teachers of the Year exemplifies a deep commitment to Maine’s students and a belief in the power of education to create positive and lasting change. They bring their compassion, creativity, and innovation to the art and science of teaching, amplifying the dreams and futures of their students.  In highlighting the accomplishments of these 15 educators, we are also honoring all of Maine’s teachers,  and the outstanding talents and dedication they bring to their classrooms and communities.”

The educators were each nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education, and dedication to their students. They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities.

As ambassadors for teachers, students, and quality education in Maine, these teachers will continue to participate in the intensive State Teacher of the Year selection process, including the submission of a video showcasing their classroom instructional practices.

The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists who will begin working on their professional portfolio, a component of the National Teacher of the Year process. After the portfolio review and presentations to a select panel, the field is narrowed to three finalists. In October, the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected after a school site visit and final interview.

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Congratulations Nominees

April 30, 2019

Nominated for Maine county Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to the following visual and performing arts educators who were nominated for a County Teacher of the Year for 2019.

  • Kris Bisson – York County, Marshwood Middle School Music Educator (grades 6-8)
  • Debra Susi – Somerset County, Maine Central Institute Theatre Educator (grades 9-12)
  • Bobbi Tardif – Piscataquis County, Se Do Mo Cha Middle School Visual Arts Educator (grades 5-8)
  • Shawn Rice – Androscoggin County, Edward Little High School Art/Broadcast Media (grades 9-12)
  • Linda Andrews – Oxford County, Buckfield Jr/Sr High and Hartford-Sumner Elementary School Gifted Academics and Arts (grades K-12)
  • Rachel Domin – Cumberland County, Morse Street School Music Educator (grades PreK-5)
  • Nicole Middleswart – Penobscot County, Caravel Middle School Music Educator (grades PreK-8)
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Celebrating Teachers

February 3, 2019

Proud of arts educators

Today is the last day nominations are being accepted for the 2019 County Teachers of the Year and the 2020 Maine State Teacher of the Year.

Information is located on the Maine Teacher of the Year Website.

The Maine State Teacher of the Year process of selecting and recognizing educators is very extensive. The process starts in January with nominations and during the following several months essays are written and submitted, interviews take place, presentations occur and video tapes created. Many are nominated of which each county has a teacher named. After 9 months the process takes it down to 3 finalists and in the end one teacher is selected. Each year in November a gala celebration happens where all of the county teachers of the year are recognized along with the next years State Teacher of the Year.

Anthony Lufkin

The 2019 gala took place the week before Thanksgiving. It was to see Kaitlin Young, music educator, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year emcee the evenings program. It was a chance to celebrate Kaitlin’s amazing journey and what she has contributed to education. She has been a wonderful representative of all Maine teachers and especially Visual and Performing Arts Educators. In addition, three more arts educators were celebrated. I’m so proud of their work.

  • Christine Del Rossi, Sagadahoc County, Visual Arts grades 9-12 Mt. Ararat High School
  • Anthony Lufkin, Knox Counnty, Visual Arts grades PreK-8 Union Elementary School, Prescott School (Washington), Friendship Village School, Middle School Alternative Education
  • David Coffey, Waldo County, Music grades 6-12 Belfast Area High School

Christine Del Rossi

 

 

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Maine Teacher of the Year

January 18, 2019

Looking to 2020

2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young, Music Educator

Every outstanding teacher knows someone who would make a great representative for education. The person who teaches down the hall or at another grade level or perhaps someone you’ve watched from a distance at district workshops. Whoever it is, do they inspire students, plant seeds for their colleagues, and/or take on leadership roles with a clear voice? Here is your chance to honor them and communicate how important they are to the profession. Consider nominating them for the 2019 County Teacher of the Year. If they are selected they will be considered for the honor of 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year.

NOMINATION

Teachers may be nominated by students, parents, teaching colleagues, principals, superintendents or anyone from the community who wants to honor an outstanding educator. 

Publicly recognizing outstanding teachers encourages students to think about teaching as a career, and provides the community a sense of pride and investment in their teachers who are making a positive impact on student’s lives every day.

To nominate an outstanding teacher as a 2019 County Teacher of the Year CLICK HERE!

Deadline: MONDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2019, 5:00 p.m.

About the Teacher of the Year Program

The Maine Teacher of the Year program starts with your nomination!
To be considered, the teacher must:

  • Hold the appropriate professional certification for their teaching position;
  • Be employed by a Maine public school, including a Career and Technical Education center, public charter school; or be employed by a publicly supported secondary school (a private school that enrolls 60 percent or more publicly funded students, sometimes referred to as “town academies” and
  • Have been teaching for a minimum of 5 years – 3 of which are in Maine.
  • Be actively teaching students at least fifty percent of full-time employment at the time of nomination and during the year of recognition.
  • Not have been a County Teacher of the Year within the past 5 years.  

From those nominees, one exemplary teacher from each of the 16 Maine counties will be selected as a 2019 Maine County Teacher of the Year. From the 16 County Teachers of the Year, 8 semi-finalists are selected. The field is narrowed to 3 state finalists, one of whom will be announced as the 2020 Maine State Teacherof the Year at a surprise school assembly in the fall of 2019.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. The Maine State Teacher of the Year represents Maine at the national level and becomes eligible for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Please contact Dolly Sullivan at Educate Maine if you have questions or want more information on the process.

Please don’t miss this opportunity to honor and recognize a great Maine Teacher!

DEADLINE: 4 FEBRUARY 2019

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Invite a Legislator to School Month

January 15, 2019

Every teacher in Maine

The message below is from Maine Teachers of the Year, Shelly Moody (2011) and Kaitlin Young (2018). They’re following through with an initiative that Kevin Grover started before he died in 2012.

Kevin at the surprise announcement for the 2010 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Many of you may not have had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Grover, our 2010 Maine Teacher of the Year. Kevin made a connection with every person who was fortunate to cross his path. He had a deep commitment and love of teaching that inspired all of us who were blessed to know him.

Kevin created “Bring Your Legislator to School Week” with a goal of engaging, enlightening and informing policy makers from our local or state government. His intent was to provide school board members and legislators with a better understanding of how their decisions affect learners and educators across the state of Maine. In 2013, Representative Mary Nelson of Falmouth and Educate Maine moved forward with Kevin’s vision by sponsoring LD 822 in his honor.

Although it has been almost 6 years since LD822 established January as Invite Your Legislator to School Month, the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association believes that that it’s time for us to return to Kevin’s vision.  Our goal is to begin an annual tradition of inviting stakeholders into our schools to meet with teachers, administrators, and students. It is our hope that this experience will strengthen the relationships between all parties, promote increased knowledge, and initiate productive conversation surrounding prekindergarten to grade twelve public education programs.

The following is an excerpt from a letter Kevin sent to his colleagues regarding his idea:

Yes, that’s Grover in the photo with Kevin and Vice-President Joe Biden during a visit to Washington, D.C. as the 2010 Maine Teacher of the Year.

I propose that teachers contact local town councilors, school board members, state representatives and federal representatives. Elected officials should be invited to spend at least one hour in a classroom helping and/or observing. It is not a time for a panel discussion, whole school assemblies in honor of prestigious guests or catered lunches, it is time for sitting in on a math lesson, reading to students, or joining teachers on their 20 minute lunch break at the photocopier. It is time for a dose of reality.

Let’s join together and start 2019 by building bridges with the decision makers who impact our students and schools!

For more information, please visit our Invite Your Legislator to School Month collection of resources and/or resources from our session presentations at ECET2ME and MEA Fall Conference! CLICK HERE to find your Senator or Representative. 

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Story Slam

October 25, 2018

Congratulations Kaitlin

The story tellers at Sweet Tree Arts fund raiser at the end of an amazing evening of stories.

Laughter, tears, surprise, wonder – all emotions I felt last Friday night at the Sweet Tree Story Slam. How I got here was the theme provided by Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center and Sweetland School in Hope. Each story was amazing and had the 100 or so folks in attendance sitting at the edge of their chairs. Our own Kaitlin Young, music teacher from Sedomocha School in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader, and Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year was amazing as she shared her story of an amazing year.

The event was held in the barn at Hope Orchards – a cozy spot to spend a Friday night after a long and busy week. The tasting of apples, eating and drinking of apple cider and pie topped off the night. The story slam was a fund raiser for the greenhouse that the school is purchasing. If you’d like to contribute contact Lindsay at sweettreearts@gmail.com.

If you’re considering holding a Story Slam with your students or perhaps for a fund raiser go ahead, don’t hesitate – its a great opportunity for learners of all ages. Not to mention a great way to bring community together around a topic on a cozy Friday night!

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