Heather Anderson teaches 8th grade Social Studies and English Language Arts at Caribou Community School, part of RSU 39, and is the 2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year. Anderson has worked extensively within her 22 years of experience to integrate technology into her daily classroom practices. She believes that student engagement is a building block for student achievement and has utilized technology such as 3D printing, podcasting, virtual reality, and wick animation to promote positive learning opportunities for her students.  


Kim Barnes teaches ELA to 8th graders at Caribou Community School where she has been teaching for 26 years and also serves as a Teacher Leader. She also had the honor to work as a curriculum writer for Dr. Janet Allen’s Plugged-in to Reading Program. Additionally, Kim has worked collaboratively with MLTI since 1:1 technology was first introduced in Maine. In 2019, she was named the Aroostook County Teacher of the Year. Kim is passionate about teaching students how to tell their stories.


Dan Belyea is the Chief Workforce Development Officer at the Maine Community College System (MCCS) and the new Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce. The Center manages short-term workforce training investments that currently exceed $62M. 

Dan has worked for the MCCS for over 34 years. He served in a variety of administrative positions at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine before joining the System office in 2016. 

He serves on the State Workforce Board, is a board member of the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), serves as a public member on the Grievance Commission with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar. He was appointed to the Board of Visitors and Chair for the Long Creek Development Center with the Maine Department of Corrections and was also appointed to the Maine Connectivity Authority board by Governor Janet T. Mills. He is also a proud member of the long-term recovery community.  


Cody Bently is a University of Maine at Augusta student teacher in Secondary English. He is also an Educational Technician III at Hall-Dale Middle School.


Dawna Blackstone grew up in a small Maine town and gained her love of nature and her appreciation for our natural resources from her Game Warden father. For over 20 years, working with the Greenville School Department and at the Appalachian Mountain Club, Dawna has taught Health, Environmental, Outdoor, and Physical Education, with a priority of getting students outside and working with teachers to facilitate learning in outdoor spaces. In 2014, Dawna was awarded the PCSWCD Environmental Educator of the Year Award. Dawna received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and her Master’s of Health Education from Southern Illinois University. She has been involved with Rural Aspirations since 2018.


Jennifer Chace attended Mount Holyoke College (A.B.) and Antioch University (M.Ed.). She earned a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard Business School/HGSE and is currently enrolled in USM’s PhD program in Public Policy. Jennifer is also a member of the Institute for Civic Leadership's Omega class.

Jennifer spent 12+ years at Maine Coast Waldorf School, as an educator and art therapist. She went on to lead Mountain Phoenix Community School in Colorado and New Amsterdam School in NYC. In Fall 2020 she co-founded The Source School, which offers programs in Maine & LA to support teachers and youth in making and maintaining connections to themselves, their communities, and the environment. She is currently the executive director of Ed Forum of Maine.

Jennifer’s passion is creating the conditions for long-term systemic change toward community-designed, co-creative learning environments that center equity; transformation literacy; and freedom of thought, feeling and will.


Cindy Dean is an Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Teacher Education department at the University of Maine at Augusta.


Rob Dominick graduated from the University of Maine Farmington and has been in education for 17 years. While I am primarily a middle school math teacher, I have taught grades ranging from 5th through 12th. Most recently Rob was teaching 7th grade math at Brewer Community School before taking a two year position with the Maine Department of Education. At the DOE, he served as an MLTI Ambassador with the goal of helping schools and staff integrate technology into their classrooms. In addition to earning a M.Ed. in Learning and Technology, Rob is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honors Society in Education, and am a Certified Google Trainer.


Gregory Friel is an Outdoor Education Instructor, PE Teacher, Master Maine Guide, and Whitewater Guide.


Jennifer Goodwin received a BA in Psychology from the University of Maine in 2004. She spent 13 years working in the behavioral health field before becoming a Community School Coordinator in the spring of 2017 where she has been in that capacity for 5 years.


Ken Grady is the SVP & CIO of IDEXX, a Maine-based global animal health company, based outside of Portland.  Ken was also a board member and former Chairman of Educate Maine, and is passionate about continuing to grow and develop talent here in our state. 

Ken's background includes studying Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and graduating from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, serving as an Arabic linguist in the US Army. 


Jen Guiko has been the Principal of Freeport High School for 7 years and was the Assistant Principal at Freeport for one year. Prior to Freeport, she spent 11 years at an urban school in Boston and 4 years at an urban school in San Diego as a Spanish teacher, Instructional Coach and then Assistant Principal. Jen is a member of the Mental Health Forum which is an organization that works with leaders of secondary schools, colleges and universities, and business organizations to talk about supporting mental health in all of those settings as well as supporting the transition from one setting to the next.

Leigh Reagan Alley Ed.D
Retooling Traditional Field Placements: A Residency Model

Dr. Leigh Alley is a longtime leadership and instructional strategist, presently serving as Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Maine at Augusta and as Executive Director of Maine ASCD, one of the state's oldest and largest professional organizations for educators. Growing up in poverty in the poorest county of America’s most rural state taught Leigh––a first-generation college graduate––the importance of education as a leveler of opportunity. Throughout her career, she has sought to bring educational equity and access to the underserved, both learners and educators alike. Currently, Leigh uses her doctoral degree in Transformative Leadership to create new and innovative ways of “upschooling” educators and administrators in Maine and beyond, supporting them to improve their practice wherever they are, whatever their means.

Lori Napolitano
Embedding Core Instruction in CTE Programs to Increase Student Success

Lori Napolitano has been an educator since 1993.  She taught high school science in several Maine districts before becoming an administrator at Bonny Eagle High School in 2005 and has remained in that district for the past 17 years. During that time Lori served as an assistant principal and principal.  Currently, Lori is the Assistant Superintendent in MSAD 6. 

Maura Oakes
Beyond Survival - Foundational Practices that support post-secondary success for Maine's LGBTQ+ students

Maura Oakes graduated with a Master of Science in Counseling and Psychological Services in 2019 from Salem State University in Massachusetts. Maura has recently worked as a mental health counselor with at-risk children, adolescents, and adults in Southern Maine. She enjoys working with children and adolescents and brings experience working with families to foster healthy and positive relationships. Maura uses her mental health expertise to support and help LGBTQ+ youth and parents learn to thrive.

Sara Pendleton
Civil Rights Team for ME

Sara Pendleton was a 3rd grade teacher at Captain Albert Stevens School for eight years and is now the community member co-advisor of a team of 25 students who are responsible for teaching students about civil rights and responding to civil rights violations within the school. She helped develop a Civil Rights Team curriculum to cover the six protected areas. Sara and her co-advisor, Cynthia Martell, guide Civil Rights Team members on projects, school-wide presentations and classroom discussions. Along with working with students, Sara helped lead the creation of a Google site portal for staff education on racism, white privilege and multicultural education in the classroom. Sara was the 2020 Waldo County Teacher of the Year.

Lori Moses
Registered Apprenticeships as a Strategy to Address the Childcare Workforce Crisis

Lori Moses is the Coordinator of Apprenticeship and Credential Programs, which is a new position at Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network.  Prior to that, Lori was a director of non-profit childcare centers for many years in the Greater Portland area, after working at Child Care Connections, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Catholic Charities Maine Family Child Care.  She has been involved in advocacy for the Early Childhood Education and Out-of-School field over the years.  During her spare time, Lori enjoys being with her family, her dog, kayaking, paddle boarding and tap dancing.

Shawn Moody
Maine SOAR

Shawn Moody was a small business owner, property tax payer and had a mortgage payment of $67.44 a month before he was old enough to vote. Fast forward to 2001 after learning Social Security may be at risk Shawn Moody responded by establishing an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) in 2003. Today the co-workers at Moody’s collectively own 54% percent of the Company. Having co-workers thinking and performing like owners has produced an average growth rate of 17% per year since 2003. Moody’s has also practiced open book management since the 90’s giving back 10% of their after tax profits to all their co-workers. Today Moody’s has over 240 co-worker owners and 14 locations across Maine. We believe teamwork makes the dreamwork.

Dave Menges
Outward Bound and The Thriving Classroom:  Techniques and activities for supporting the social/emotional needs of your students

Dave Menges is a lifelong educator.  He began his teaching career as an elementary classroom teacher, primarily teaching 5th grade, but also having taught 3rd and 7th grades as well.  He served for 17 years as the Head of Lower School at St. Christopher's School, and K-12 independent school for boys in Richmond, Virginia.  Simultaneously, Dave has worked as an Instructor and Course Director for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) since 1989, where he primarily has with middle-school through college-aged students supporting the school's backpacking and canoeing expeditionary programs.  Since February of 2022, Dave has been serving HIOBS as the Associate Director of Custom Programs, in which he oversees program design for the school's Educational Partners and Outward Bound Professional programs.

Cynthia Martell
Civil Rights Team for ME

Cynthia Martell has been both a school counselor K-12, and college level counselor for the past 25 years. She has been with Captain Albert Stevens Elementary for the past 16 years, where she has been a Civil Rights Team Advisor for more than 10 years. 

Marissa Markonish
Civil-tea - a student led discussion that creates empathy and explores hard topics

Marissa Markonish is Head of Lower and Middle Schools at North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth, Maine. She holds a BA in Classics from Wesleyan University and an MAT in Latin and Classical Humanities from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Marissa is in her thirtieth year as an educator, working with students from toddler through grade 12. Since coming to NYA in 1995, she has held numerous positions, including Latin teacher, department chair, and administrator.

Erin Maguire
Embedding Core Instruction in CTE Programs to Increase Student Success

Erin Maguire is currently the 6-12 Curriculum Coordinator at MSAD 6 (Bonny Eagle) where she formerly was the High School Assistant Principal. She's the Maine 2020 Assistant Principal of the year, a former 7-12 math teacher and an avid member of the track and field community.

Ayesha Hall MS SP
Using Social Emotional Learning as a Lever for Equity in the classroom and Beyond

Ayesha Hall, MS SP is a civic leader, and youth mental health advocate with a passion for systems reform and cooperative economics. She works with the Lewiston Public School district as the Social Emotional Learning and Equity Resource Coordinator. She studied at Clemson University in South Carolina, receiving her Bachelor of Arts psychology and minor concentration in Cultural Anthropology.

After several years of working in the nonprofit sector of New York City, assisting and directing children’s programs for inner city youth, she began her master's level studies in mental health counseling. Ayesha followed her passion for mental health support in schools, and shifted the focus to research and evaluation; which led to her certification as a School Psychologist in 2010. Ayesha currently lives in Auburn Maine with her husband Malik and 3 children, Malik Jr., Kayah, and Asah. She enjoys reading, studying and composing music. 

John Holdridge
Third Thought Initiatives for Civic Engagement

John Holdridge is a career educator and the Director of Third Thought Initiatives for Civic Engagement at Waynflete. Third Thought is a collection of initiatives that serve students across Maine and New England and that offer opportunities for self-reflection, perspective taking, inquiry, and collaboration on topics that are important to high school youth. 

Lauren Jacobs
Northern Maine Outdoor Education Cohort

Lauren Jacobs is a lecturer in outdoor leadership with the College of Education and Human Development at University of Maine. She coordinates the outdoor leadership concentration and minor within KPE, and instructs a number of outdoor leadership courses. Her research interests involve physical activity and outdoor education and learning, particularly in rural schools. She loves exploring the woods and waters of Maine, and gardening flowers and vegetables in her backyard.

Reza Jalali
Free College: Expanding Opportunities

Reza Jalali is a writer, educator, and immigrant advocate. Reza was recognized as one of the eminent ethnic Americans in Making it in America: a sourcebook on eminent ethnic Americans (©️2001by Elliott Robert Barkan.) As a member of Amnesty International USA Board of Directors, Jalali has led delegations to different refugee camps in Turkey and Bosnia. In 1992, he visited the White House as part of a national delegation to discuss the plight of Kurdish refugees fleeing Iraq. He has taught at University of Southern Maine and Bangor Theological Seminary. His books include the award-winning children’s book, Moon Watchers and Homesick Mosque and Other Stories. His play, The Poets and the Assassin, is about women in Iran and Islam. He has been featured in the National Public Radio’s nationally acclaimed storytelling program, The Moth Radio. Jalali co-authored New Mainers, a book about Maine’s immigrants. He is the co-author of the book Dear Maine, which was published in 2021.

Amanda Jones
Embedding Core Instruction in CTE Programs to Increase Student Success

Amanda Jones is an English teacher who has worked at the Middle and High School levels throughout Central and Southern Maine for the past 8 years. She has a passion for curriculum development that is authentic and engaging for students. For the last six years Amanda has been working in MSAD 6, most recently as the English teacher for the English Pathways Program for MSAD 6 CTE students as well as teaching Poetry and Technical English for grades 11 and 12.

Charles H. Lagerbom
Belfast Area High School Marine Institute

Charles H. Lagerbom received his MA in History/Archaeology from University of Maine. He organized surveys of ship remains in Maine lakes, the 1779 Penobscot Expedition and 17th century English galleon Angel Gabriel off Pemaquid. Two field seasons were spent in Antarctica with University of Maine Quaternary Institute, now Climate Change Institute. He is author of Maine Whaling as well as Maine to Cape Horn: A Most Dangerous Journey and writes a column entitled Half Seas Over: Interesting Research Related to Maritime Maine for the The Camden Herald. In addition to AP US History, Charles teaches New England Maritime History and co-teaches the Marine Studies Class as part of the Belfast Marine Institute while also frequently speaking on Antarctica, Cape Horn, Maine whaling and New England colonial and maritime history.

Kristina Lewis RN-BSN
Embedding Core Instruction in CTE Programs to Increase Student Success

Kristina Lewis has been a medical occupations instructor at Westbrook Regional Vocational Center since 2013. She is a registered nurse (ADN 2007, BSN 2010) with experience in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatrics, home health, and pediatric intensive care unit.

Heather Perry
Little Rams Early Childhood Education Project

Heather J. Perry is Superintendent of Schools for the Gorham School Department, Gorham, Maine where she has served the community for the past 7 years.  

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern Maine in Public Policy, her Masters of Educational Leadership from the University of Maine and her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Maine at Machias.  She currently serves as a member of MSSA’s Executive Board as well as a member of AASA’s Executive Board at the national level.  She is a graduate of Educate Maine’s Education Leaders Experience, Alpha class.  She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) and is a volunteer mentor for young women in the Olympia Snowe’s Women’s Leadership Program.  

In the past she has served as chair of MSSA’s Funding Committee, president of the Penquis and Kennebec Regional Superintendent’s associations, Chair of the Board at Good Will Hinckley,  and chaired the National Rural Trust Finance Policy Committee. She is also a proud wife, mother, and most recently grandmother!

Julie A. Smyth
Community Schools in Maine - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Julie has just completed her first year as Director of the Office of School and Student Supports for the Maine Department of Education. This office is comprised of the Climate, Culture, and Resilience Team; Coordinated School Health Team; and School Approval and Enrollment Team. Julie came to the department after serving as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Saco Schools since 2012. 

Janet M. Sorter
Free College: Expanding Opportunities

Janet Sortor, Ed.D., is the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for the Maine Community College System, a leadership positions she has held since 2017 and 2015 respectively. Prior to joining the System, she served as the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs at Southern Maine Community College, in South Portland. Since joining the System, she has worked to increase access and student success, ensuring that Maine has a workforce with the advanced education and training necessary to meet the needs of the 21st century economy. She has worked in higher education for over 30 years, beginning her career at Bunker Hill Community College.

Andrew Spofford
Outward Bound and The Thriving Classroom: Techniques and activities for supporting the social/emotional needs of your students

Andrew Spofford's interest in education (unknowingly) took root during his teenage years, while serving as a counselor and adventure leader in his hometown's summer camp. In his twenties, Andrew spent four years teaching English, coaching athletes, and advising student leaders at a public high school in Western Massachusetts before launching a twenty-year chapter in corporate education, advisory consulting, and professional services. In 2017 -- heeding a nagging urge for more "human interest" in his career -- Andrew joined the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School where he currently serves as director of custom programs, collaborating with educational partners and professional organizations to create transformative experiences for youth and adults, alike.

Lauren Stark Ph.D.
Retooling Traditional Field Placements: A Residency Model

Lauren Stark completed her PhD in the social foundations of education at the University of Virginia after spending nine years teaching secondary English, ELL, French, and Humanities in public schools. She has taught educational foundations and methods courses to preservice educators at the University of Virginia, Bowdoin College, and the University of Maine at Augusta. Her research interests include teacher learning and knowledge production, critical pedagogy, social justice education, teachers’ work and teachers’ unions, and teacher and student engagement in social movements.

Timothy Surrette
Retooling Traditional Field Placements: A Residency Model

Timothy Surrette's teaching interests include methods of teaching project-based science and problem-based mathematics in elementary schools and approaches to differentiating instruction, lesson planning, formative/summative assessment, and classroom management in K-12 schools. His research interests include applications of university-based mentoring programs to support early career teachers, particularly science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators, and the ability of online environments to facilitate teacher professional development.


David Thomas
Belfast Area High School Marine Institute

David Thomas has taught high school science in four public high schools in New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Maine for over 20 years. He holds a B.S. in limnology (the study of biological, chemical, and physical features of lakes and rivers) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.S. in science education from Cornell University. Dave worked for four years as a research technician in northern Wisconsin and Michigan studying ecological changes as a result of whole-lake fertilization and fish manipulation experiments. He has taught marine studies and environmental research courses at the high school as well as UMaine Hutchinson Center.


Sean Wasson
The Future of K-12 Computer Science Education in Maine

Sean Wasson is an innovative and accomplished K-12 certified Computer Science teacher, leader, and strategist specialized in classroom management, business communications, and facilitating teachable moments. He has served on two different statewide committees for K-12 Computer Science Education in Maine. Sean's other areas of specialty and focus include operational management, higher-ed curriculum design and course development, creative direction, communications, training facilitation and employee development, social media. He also serves as the Maine Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA Maine), President.


Tara Williams
Little Rams Early Childhood Education Project

Tara Williams is the Executive Director of MaineAEYC. She coordinates the Maine Early Childhood Outdoors (MeECO) Network, new to Maine in 2022. Tara designed MaineAEYC’s Building Early Childhood Bridges work to bring together school districts and early care and education programs, including helping with the design of Maine’s Leading Early Learning cohort series for elementary school leaders. Previously she taught in public schools and early care and education programs with children from birth to grade 3. Tara received a bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Boston University and a masters in Early Childhood Leadership & Administration from Bank Street College. In 2019 she completed the John T Gorman Fellowship program. Tara trains educators and presents at regional and national conferences.

Jessica Woods
Belfast Area High School Marine Institute

Jess Woods is in her second year as the Assistant Principal at Belfast Area High School. She spent her first 9 years in education in the School Counseling office at BAHS, and then assumed the role of School Counselor and Pathways Coordinator at Islesboro Central School for four years before returning to BAHS in this new role. Jess also spent several years as a post-secondary consultant for her company, JessWoods Consulting, and believes in the power of personalized learning for all students.