Posts Tagged ‘Maine Teacher of the Year’

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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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Mr. Hennessey Named TOY

October 24, 2018

Maine Teacher of the Year

I’ve been fortunate to attend many of the gatherings naming the Maine Teacher of the Year. I traveled to Piscataquis Community High School in the middle of October for the formal announcement of Joseph Hennessey, an English teacher. The school student body, teachers, and community are proud of Joe and excited about the next several months and what he will experience.

I’m sure you share in my pride of having a music educator representing educators during 2018. Kaitlin Young from Sedomocha School in Dover-Foxcroft continues being an amazing ambassador! In spite of her responsibilities out of the classroom she has continued to learn and grow as a teacher for her students and school community. The opportunity became clear as I listened to her during formal presentations at two conferences earlier this month.

The Maine Teacher of the Year represents all that is good and right in education – they are not THE best teacher but they are exemplary and provide their voice and represent educators in Maine and throughout the country during their “year” as Teacher of the Year.

I was very inspired by Mr. Hennessey’s “thank you” at the school assembly and have printed it below. You can read more in the Bangor Daily News article from October 13-14, 2018.

“This process began last February when I was notified of my nomination for the Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, which was humbling in itself,” he said. “There are many talented people working very hard in this part of the state who never received that recognition, and there was much for me to process as a result.

“By the time I was selected as the 2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year I had written four essays expounding the virtues of my colleagues, the commitment of our community to its young people, and the tremendous efforts of my students to better themselves through close writing and critical thinking.

“I had also solicited numerous letters of recommendation from colleagues, community members and students on my behalf. All of which further introduced the selection committee to what makes our community strong in the face of often adverse circumstances. Life in rural America can be hard, but evidently you are all people who choose to rise to those challenges as they come.”

Hennessey said as a semifinalist, “I had offered the committee a window into my classroom where your efforts were on display and I acted as a guide. It was nothing more or less than what we undertake every day and every class period across every subject, and as a result of that window I was able to give a presentation at the University of Maine which discussed chronic absenteeism and highlighted some of the programs this school offers to try address that issue.

“Whether it is offering after-school RTI or giving students rides home, partnering with Tri-County Technical Center to help students position themselves for career success, or implementing a student success team or academic council, my message was the adults here are committed to your individual and collective success. Apparently the selection committee was moved by our situation.

“By the time I was selected as a finalist for the Maine Teacher of the Year, the selection committee wanted to visit our school to better understand what it is about this community that places someone like me in a position to succeed. Furthermore I interviewed with various stakeholders at the department of education to express my views on education, my philosophical tenets, and my personal and professional commitments, all of which are informed by working with all of you every day. We live and we learn together.

“Today after all of the reading and the writing, the speaking, and the reflecting, I find myself named as the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year as an English literature teacher from Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford, Maine. It is an honor that I will cherish for the rest of my career and beyond. But I cannot overemphasize that I am in this position of distinction because of this community. Thus I think the question of what makes this community special is an ongoing point of reflection. What does this recognition mean for us now, and what does it mean for the future?

“Over the coming year I will have the ability to share with others what we have to offer and vice-versa. So what are the things that make us most proud; what barriers to access and success frustrate us the most; and how is it that people coming from six different towns representing a physical area bigger than downtown Portland are able to come together to create a community where everyone is welcome, supported, and feels as though their opinions and actions matter? Those are some of the tasks that we have before us, and I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to articulate to others through this platform.

“In closing I would like to thank all of you, my colleagues, community members, the selection committee and most of all the students for taking a chance on someone from away. Though you had every right to be skeptical of me because I am a person from a different part of the country, instead you chose to welcome me, my monotone voice, my limited facial expressions, my scribbled handwriting and my dry sense of humor into your community with open arms. I am very glad that you did.”

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kaitlin Young

June 5, 2018

Music Educator

This is one of several blog posts in 2018 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 7 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 93 Teacher Leaders and 8 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Kaitlin for sharing your story!

Kaitlin Young has taught music within the RSU 68 school district in Dover-Foxcroft, Me. for the last eight years. Currently she teaches music to students in prekindergarten through fourth grade at SeDoMoCha Elementary School. She is also the choral director of the SeDoMoCha Singers at SeDoMoCha Middle School. Kaitlin is the 2017 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Music is pretty cool. I love that I have the unique pleasure of providing experiences for my students that are at times indescribable through words. I love to watch their faces when they hear something they have never heard before, or even better hear something they know and love in a new way. Moments when they laugh uncontrollably at a silly song, tear up as they connect to a piece of classical music, or beam with pride when they have created something uniquely their own.

I love that I get to share in these experiences that elicit strong emotional connections through music with my students. I love that I get to bring joy through song and movement, and that in my classroom kids get to be kids. Wonder and awe are essential to the human experience.

I love that music education provides students an outlet to express themselves as well as a way to connect to their community both locally and globally. I love that as an educator, regardless of content, what we do is about fostering relationships. I love that I get to build these relationships over several years and experience all of these moments of joy with my students.  We are engaged in this journey together.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

First, always keep an open mind.

No matter what role we hold within a Visual and Performing Arts program, (student, teacher, administrator, community member, etc.) it is essential that we continue to be open to possibilities. Whether it be growth and learning, actively sharing and listening to others ideas, thinking creatively about solving a problem, or simply being willing to try something new. Our ability to capitalize on those unexpected teachable moments will help us continue to engage others within our programs and help them to reflect our communities.

Second, build trusting relationships.

Relationships are the foundation of a strong education, and are essential to the human experience. We learn the most from people we trust and respect. The arts innately foster empathy, connections, and community. As a valued colleague once told me, “the arts bring people together.”

Third, be willing to persist and advocate for what you love!

We must set goals with our students and colleagues and actively pursue them even when the going gets tough. Advocacy is sharing what we love on behalf of those we love. And one of the best ways to advocate is empowering our students to find their voices and advocate for their future.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessments are a tool to help us to know where we are, where we are going, and clarify how we might need to get there. Once I grasped the concept that assessments could be informative and diagnostic (which felt much different from when I was in school!) it changed the way I viewed learning the learning process. I love being able to use consistent language to identify the skills necessary to help my students develop and grow into strong musicians. Assessment provides the opportunity to improve feedback and promote positive conversation surrounding learning goals and growth for both students and teachers!

Utilizing assessments to share what students need to know and be able to do to demonstrate their learning has allowed students to take control. Assessment has also helped us to advocate within our school community as we challenge the belief that music education is just for the talented few.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

Working with such an inspiring and passionate group of educators brings out the best in everyone! Whether it is the facilitated discussions within professional development sessions, informal conversation surrounding our craft at lunch, or follow up phone calls/zoom meetings with friends I always leave feeling uplifted, supported, and encouraged to challenge myself to grow as a professional.

My growth throughout my teaching career has been supported through various opportunities provided by the work of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (formerly Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) and I continue to look forward to the connections that I will be able to make and the doors that may open through this continued experience.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My kids. It might sound cliche, but my husband and I do not have biological kids (yet…growth mindset!) and I love that I get to share in many special moments with all of them each and every day and over the course of many years!

I take pride in all of the small moments where they accomplish something they didn’t think was possible or when they make a fantastic connection that gives greater purpose and meaning to what they are learning. Over the last year it has brought me great joy to share their thoughts and ideas with others as I have presented at conferences as I advocate on behalf of our profession. I continue to be inspired by their words and I am proud that I get to share their ideas!

Kaitlin at the Hall of Flags in Augusta with the arts teachers honored as the 2018 county teachers of the year. (l to r) Kaitlin, Sagadahoc: Christine Del Rossi, Mt. Ararat High School, Knox: Anthony Lufkin, Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, Union Elementary, and Waldo: David Coffey, Belfast Area High School and Troy Howard Middle School

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Paperwork, pressure, and misperceptions oh my! While I am a strong advocate for assessment and high quality education I do agree that often times I can get caught up in the administrative aspects of my job. In a time of “evaluation and accountability” there can be intense pressure to justify your worth, or the worth of your program, based on the misperception of what music education is or “should be,” not upon what we know, as professionals, to be best for our students. Music education, and what music classes might look like, continue to evolve. We have, hopefully, moved further away from some of the sit and get or “mouth the words” experiences that others have had. It can be hard to alter or influence the expectations of those who may have had a poor music experience, do not understand, or simply do not value what it is that we do. That can lead to logistical challenges including itinerant or unrealistic schedules, a less than ideal physical work environment (like being on a cart!), or unsupportive administrators and/or communities. However the need to understand and explain (often way more than we would like) the importance of what we are teaching and why we are teaching it sets us up to be some of the most reflective and effective advocates for our students!

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Take the advice that you give to your students each and every day in your classrooms.  Actively listen. Be reflective and patient. Play nice with others. Dream big, think different, work hard, and be kind.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. representing Maine as the 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin takes the opportunity to have a conversation with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would love to start a scholarship for my students to have the opportunity to travel to explore musical opportunities/experiences beyond our local and state community on a consistent basis. I would also like to take my husband on a road trip across our country, specifically to see all of the National Parks. His affinity and admiration for the beauty that simply exists through nature always inspires me to pause and appreciate the small moments.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I wish I would have been more diligent about writing down the small special moments from the classroom during the beginning of my career. Mostly because my memory is not what it used to be, but also because in education it is the small moments that fill up our buckets. That’s what I will look back upon and smile about the most!

Thank you Kaitlin for representing Maine educators as our 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year. 

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Soooo Proud!

May 11, 2018

Great day for Maine Arts Education

Yesterday in Augusta at a Hall of Flags ceremony in the State House the 2018 County Teachers of the Year were announced. Among the group were 3 arts teachers out of 16! How cool is that – 2 visual art teachers and 1 music teacher. The Arts are well represented and we as arts educators have so much to be proud of. There were 350 teachers nominated statewide. Please join me in CONGRATULATING the following arts educators.

Anthony Lufkin

KNOX COUNTY

Anthony Lufkin – elementary visual art educator
Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School and Union Elementary

SAGADAHOC COUNTY

Christine Del Rossi – high school visual art educator

Mt. Ararat High School
WALDO COUNTY
David Coffey – high school music educator
Belfast Area High School and Troy Howard Middle School
I’m so proud to know these teachers. All three have taken leadership roles. Anthony has worked closely with MALI teaching artist leader Tim Christensen. David is a MALI Teacher Leader joining the initiative in August 2017. Christine has been on the MAEA board member for several years.

David Coffey with his students at Point Lookout to perform at the Maine Arts Commission Arts and Prosperity report luncheon in February 2018

WABI TV5 was there covering the event which you can view HERE. The 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, music educator Kaitlin Young, from SeDoMoCha School in Dover Foxcroft was there to to congratulate the educators and is on the TV clip. Kaitlin is a wonderful ambassador for all Maine teachers. Recently she traveled to Washington D.C. to meet the other state Teachers of the Year and for a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. Thank you Kaitlin for representing all of us! So proud of you!

The rest of the 2018 County Teaches of the Year include:
Androscoggin: Katie Toothaker, Minot Consolidated School
Aroostook: William “Bill” Guerrette, Presque Isle Middle School
Cumberland: Connie Russell, Mabel I. Wilson School
Franklin: Jessica Ellingwood, Spruce Mountain High School
Hancock: Jennifer Farnham, Hancock Grammar School
Kennebec: Katy Jones, Winslow Junior High School
Lincoln: Daniel Hupp, Great Salt Bay Community School
Oxford: Jessica McGreevy, Oxford Hills Middle School
Penobscot: Shana Goodall, Orono High School
Piscataquis: Joseph Hennessey, Piscataquis Community High School
Somerset: Patti Champagne, Bloomfield Elementary
Washington: Kailee Colbeth, Washington Academy
York: Kristin Klin, Bonny Eagle Middle School
One of the 16 county teachers of the year will become the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year. Wouldn’t it be great if Kaitlin was followed by another visual or performing arts educator?!
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