Of course for the class of 2014 the future means announcing the 2015 Teacher of the Year in their state. I spent the month of September and October deeply immersed in this process by visiting the four amazing finalists and sitting in on their final interviews. On October 2nd, during a pristine morning in Skowhegan, Jennifer Dorman was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year. It was such a joyous day for all involved-her students, her colleagues at Skowhegan Middle School, her family and her Maine Teacher of the Year family. Jennifer will be an outstanding representative of teachers and students in the coming year. I look forward to her impact on our profession.
The work of bringing teachers’ voices to the forefront continues as the County Teachers of the Year will meet with Aisha Woodward, a legislative assistant for Senator Angus King, who focuses on education, the Senator’s state director, Edie Smith, and King’s regional representative for western Maine, Ben Tucker. We will be talking with them about issues such as college affordability, high -stakes testing, and teacher leadership. As educators, we need to continually push for a voice at the policy level, since so many decisions about education and schools are made without any input from a practicing teacher.
On November 15th at the Cross Center in Bangor, the 2014-2015 County Teachers of the Year and the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year will be officially honored by their families, colleagues, and legacy members of the Maine Teacher of the Year family. It brings the first year of a major change in the MTOY selection process to a successful conclusion. I can’t say enough about the way the process has rolled out this year under the guidance of Dolly Sullivan, the Program Director at Educate Maine. Over 300 teachers in Maine were nominated by someone, 16 County Teachers of the Year were selected for the first time ever, and four finalists made the naming of the 2015 selection daunting for the selection committee. After a whirlwind September and October, I couldn’t be more thankful for Dolly’s commitment to honoring the great teachers in this state. Stay tuned after the first of the year for information on how you can nominate someone. Recognizing outstanding educators is one way we can work to elevate the profession. For those of us fortunate enough to be recognized, we are committed to giving back to this program and to the professional. It is clear that there are many “next steps” to be taken through the end of 2014 AND in the coming year. I look forward to the next steps of my journey with great anticipation.