Educate Maine, announced today that nominations are now open for the County Teacher of the Year program, an exciting expansion to the Maine Teacher of the Year program that includes a simplified online nomination process. The call for nominations started February 1 and goes through February 28. The online nomination form is also available in hard copy at Bangor Savings Bank branches and can be downloaded from the Educate Maine or Maine Teacher of the Year websites.
New this year, the Maine State Teacher of the Year (MTOY) program will include the selection and celebration of sixteen 2014 County Teachers of the Year, one of whom will be the 2015 Maine State Teacher of the Year. The Maine Teacher of the Year participates in the National Teacher of the Year program.
“Our goal in making the changes to the program is to honor and recognize more teachers, increase the public awareness and engagement in the TOY program as well as simplifying the initial nomination process,” says Tim Hussey, CEO & President of Hussey Seating and Chair of the Educate Maine Board of Directors.
According to Dolly Sullivan, State Coordinator for the Teacher of the Year program, “We listened to the feedback about the process and looked at what other states are doing and incorporated some of their best practices to streamline the process and find ways to focus public attention on the importance of teaching as a profession. “
Also new this year are the creation of County Selection Teams and the collaboration with several Chambers of Commerce across the state to participate in the process to select, honor and celebrate Maine’s classroom teachers. Chris Hall, President and CEO of the Portland Region Chamber states, “Involvement in the Teacher of the Year program is a natural fit for businesses and chambers across the state. We realize that quality education is key to a strong economy and a great teacher in every classroom is key to improving student achievement. We all need to do what we can to support educators. When we talk about ‘teacher accountability’ we better make sure that recognition is part of the accountability system. “
Shannon Shanning, who recently ended her year of service as Maine’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, acknowledged that teachers are not used to accepting accolades for their work. She stressed that this is not a competition, but a “professional development experience unsurpassed by any other in my career. My year as Maine Teacher of the Year has been as rich an experience for my students, school, and community as it has been for me personally.”
Nominees for TOY are those individuals who have gained the respect and admiration of students, parents, and co-‐workers. They play an active and useful role in their communities as well as their schools, often distinguishing themselves as leaders. They have a superior ability to help all students achieve.
Karen MacDonald, 6/7 grade English Language Arts teacher at King Middle School in Portland has just begun her year of service as Maine’s 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education from Mt. Holyoke College and a Master of Science in Professional Teaching from the University of Southern Maine. She is a National Board Certified teacher and has a Maine ELL (English Language Learner) endorsement and is considered an expert in the Expeditionary Learning Model. She has been teaching in the Portland school system since 1979, the start of her career in education. You can learn more about Karen here.
The Maine Teacher of the Year Program is administered and managed by the Educate Maine, a business-led education organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. The MTOY program is funded by Bangor Savings Bank, Geiger, Hannaford and Unum and is supported by the Maine State Board of Education and the State Teacher of the Year Association.