Nominated by: Ryan McKenney
Nicole Sautter is the standard for which all other teachers in our district strive toward. Her contributions in the classroom are always through the lens of the needs of her students first and everything else second. Nicole will dive into student data and seek out the students who have historically struggled with making progress in reading/writing and ask for those students to be added to her classes.
Her bar for student expectations is set high and is only outpaced by her genuine care and concern for their well-being. Interwoven in their successes is her success and their struggles become her struggles.
Nicole is a leader among peers as well. She is the curriculum lead teacher for social studies. Nicole is also a mentor every year for new teachers just entering the profession and just joining our school family.
Her contributions stretch well beyond our doors as well. When a need arises she is always the first to step to the plate. We need a coach, she coaches, "oh we need someone to coach our other team as well, she coaches both teams, we need someone to run the booster program, she volunteers, we have an optional meeting on a Saturday to discuss long-term district plans, she is there with a smile...every.single.time. Through her decades in education, she has improved the lives of countless youths and her impact stretches well beyond their assessment scores and grades. Nicole was born in Lisbon, raised her wonderful family here, became a teacher's teacher here, and without her efforts, enthusiasm, and dedication this school and this town would not be recognizable.
Nominated by: John Kaleta
Jocelyn is a phenomenal teacher who connects with students and fellow staff members as well. She is the leader of the senior team that develops and implements our senior projects on a yearly basis. Seniors prepare and carry out this three stage graduation requirement. Students must fully research a topic of their choice, write a research paper, create a product and perform an oral presentation in front of a six person panel. Jocelyn has modified this project yearly to make it an incredible and relevant learning experience for our seniors.
Ms. Saucier is the advisor for the NHS and Key clubs. Her passion for community service is contagious. Our students have one of the highest functioning NHS in the State as members are often elected as regional and State officers. Under her guidance, NHS has developed a peer tutoring program this year. This program has been quite successful, tutor and tutee both benefit from the relationship!
Ms. Saucier is a certified dual enrollment teacher for English Composition. A cohort of students take this year long course during their junior year and receive college credit through UMFK.
Somehow, Ms. Saucier also manages to help out with our fall musical play. She helps coordinate the elementary children, and parents, who have rolls in the play. She is also the costume advisor and creator for the younger children who perform in the production.
I honestly have not seen an individual who could be more worthy of teacher of the year in my 33 years in education. Ms. Jocelyn Saucier is the real deal and unselfishly gives of herself everyday!
Nominated by: Brooke Teller
Cindy is an extraordinary teacher for many reasons. Cindy has dedicated most of her nineteen years in education to the students of Riverton Elementary School. At Riverton, she has been in the role of special educator, literacy coach, and now pioneering science curriculum developer. She told me that each time she is presented with a new initiative, she is 'all in', wanting to do whatever she can to benefit her students. I can think of no better example of an extraordinary teacher than one that is always looking out for her students and on a continuous path for her own improvement.
Beyond Cindy's commitment to her students, her colleagues, and her profession, Cindy has the ability to carefully craft beautifully designed learning experiences that push her students' thinking. Even though Cindy is trained as a literacy specialist, she immediately grasped on to the shifts in science teaching and learning and was able to craft a well-thought-out sequence of investigations for her students that engaged them in the process of "figuring out" core science ideas. Cindy's efforts have supported her students in making substantial educational gains, despite all of the odds."
Also notable is Cindy's ability to involve others in her work. She was recently included in a Teacher's College book around her work on the use of productive talk. She co-taught a Fairy Tale unit from TC to teachers in Topsham. Cindy is great at bringing experts into the classroom for her students. This year alone she has worked with ME Audubon, Wolf's Neck State Park, Side by Side, and a wildlife ecologist.
Outside of the classroom Cindy serves on the school's leadership team and is a member of the Building Steering Committee. Cindy has mentored numerous new educators and I can't think of a better mentor.
Nominated by: Selina Warren
My admiration for Mrs. Hoisington began eleven years ago, when I was a student teacher in her second grade classroom. She was and continues to be a caring teacher who thoughtfully considers the diverse needs of her students. Mrs. Hoisington is a skilled educator who modeled data-driven instruction and provided me with many opportunities to complete and analyze formal and informal assessments to support the changing needs of our students.
Four years later, during my first year as Mrs. Hoisington’s colleague, I gained the utmost respect for my fellow teacher next door. This was a time when teachers were not feeling supported due to the fact that they were going on their third year without a current teacher contract. Mrs. Hoisington never spoke negatively about the members of the school board, and worked with graceful loyalty to her students, families, and members of the community during this difficult time for teachers in our district. When she did speak about the working conditions during these years, she conveyed her thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a concise and thought provoking manner.
This year, I am immensely grateful for the extraordinary work of Mrs. Hoisington in her role as the Multiage Teacher because my son is currently a first grader in her class. He is a very active boy who doesn’t love school. However, he puts his best effort forth everyday because he knows school is important and he respects his teacher for her calm and caring demeanor. Mrs. Hoisington is always the last teacher in the building working into the evening every day to differentiate learning for students with a wide range of abilities across two grade levels. I worried about my son in a larger multi-age setting, but Mrs. Hoisington has used multiple assessments to select the best practices and strategies to help my son grow from emergent to a more fluent reader this year.
Mrs. Hoisington’s dedication far exceeds the countless hours she spends in her classroom. She ensures that all of her students develop a love and appreciation for their community. She coordinates our Ski Skate Program, a partnership with Sugarloaf Mountain to provide all local children the opportunity to ski or snowboard at Sugarloaf regardless of their family income. She has also partnered with UNICEF to teach children about geography and food security. She has sought and secured funding for two years so that her students can wear UNICEF activity bands. With every step, students are saving the lives of hungry children around the world. She also collaborates with the middle school social studies teacher and the eighth grade to work on global sustainability goals. Students are embarking on walking field trips to businesses in town, and they have collected food items for our local food pantries. In conclusion, words cannot describe my admiration, respect, and gratitude for Mrs. Hoisington. She is my beloved mentor, colleague, and community member. She is my family’s Teacher of the Year, and is most deserving of the Teacher of the Year recognition!
Nominated by: Julie Keblinsky and Michele Gurtler
(Keblinsky) Ms. Meyer continually learns and refines her practice to meet students where they are and take them where they need to go. In the past five years, she has led the charge to Proficiency-based Education because she knows it is the most equitable and sustainable form of teaching and learning available. During this transition, she has explored and put into place new, relevant programming to meet students' needs. She has been instrumental in creating and leading the Island Pathways program, a team-based approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes community building and curriculum relevance in order to reach at-risk students. This program has been instrumental in reducing our high school drop out rate, which has decreased by 10 percent over the past six years. She has also led the charge in rethinking Senior Capstone projects by teaching an Advanced Design Thinking course where seniors work together to plan "Healthy Trojans Day," a conference model that is designed for students by students and completely facilitated by students. She is also an English teacher who constantly refines her craft.
Most recently, she has been carrying out the 180 Days model of ELA by Kelly Gallagher. The reason for this shift? She used the Design Thinking process she teaches to examine a problem her department faced: kids were not reading. The first step in this examination was data collection. Led by Ms. Meyer, the department interviewed students and read the latest research and determined a pro-active approach to engaging students in reading. And the results are awesome! The on-going data the English department is collecting tell the story of success. Whether working as a team to work with at-risk students, as a collaborator with seniors for meaningful, community-driven, collaborative capstone projects or as an ELA teacher working with her peers to better engage students in reading, Ms. Meyer is constantly learning and revising her craft and curriculum to best reach her students. She is a teacher leader. She is also a coach of future student leaders. She works in partnership with elected student officials in carrying out the "Hearing Committee," a student and teacher organization that works to carry out restorative justice.
Behind Ms. Meyer's success is someone who is so curious and humble about solutions. She puts the greater good before the ego and is open and willing to learn and collaborate with peers and students. I have had the privilege of partnering with her over the past seven years and seek her out whenever I am inspired by new material. She is a go-to person who absolutely loves teaching and learning and works with her students to create a sustainable future. I can not say enough about her, but I am happy to in a phone call!
(Gurtler) Kate can work with any level student. She takes each task to heart and gives it her all. She has recently been integrating design thinking into her work. She runs the Island Pathways programs which target students at risk. She is just as comfortable with the upper-level students as well.
Kate embraces each new challenge and is able to think rationally and logically when confronted with an angry student. She is sensitive to their plight but is able to maintain boundaries.
Nominated by: Hope Herrick
Lindsay Mahoney is an amazing teacher and coworker. I have had the pleasure of team teaching with her for the past several years. She makes me a better teacher every day. She began as a math and science teacher, however, for the past three years, we have been a two person team where each of us teaches all subjects.
Our two person team really allows Lindsay's creativity and passion to shine. She has engaging and innovative ways to teach. She has taught all subjects, however, math is her favorite. She prides herself in being able to make a math lover out of even the toughest to crack math hater of a student. She does so by showing them how they can be successful in any classroom, even a math classroom. She builds trust and confidence in each of her students. It is amazing to see the growth in her students over the course of their time with her.
Lindsay's passion is teaching, however, it is specifically teaching middle school. She is on the board of MAMLE and works to put together an amazing two day workshop for middle school teachers across our state. Lindsay's enthusiasm and appreciation for all things middle school make her a student favorite and a valued colleague. Her students love her passion and how she works to make each lesson meaningful and engaging for all students.
One of the things that I admire most about Lindsay is her ability to connect with all students. Middle schoolers have a lot of baggage and a lot of needs throughout the day. She is so approachable and finds ways to connect with the students who most need it. She uses every minute of her workday to make sure she is making connections and making an impact on her students' lives.
In closing, I cannot think of a teacher that I have worked with in the past 14 years of teaching that would be more deserving of teacher of the year.
Nominated by: Adam Bullard
As an administrator and someone who has worked in education for over 15, I have had the opportunity to work with and see many teachers in action. Though there are many teachers at STG that could be nominated for this honor, the work that Alison has done over the past two years has been extraordinary whether you are looking at the data or evaluating her teaching practices and professionalism.
When you walk into her classroom, it feels as though every minute and every word has been intentionally planned out to ensure that each moment results in learning. What makes her practice so special however is that even with the evidence of detailed thoughtful planning, she maintains a professional warmth with her students at all times regardless of whether the task is fun, demanding, or both. The results of her planning and practice are stunning: 100% of her students met or exceeded their growth goals on the NWEA math test and 96% met or exceeded their goals on the NWEA reading test last year. For a school that sets the mark at 60%, she no doubt exceeded expectations.
Perhaps what has made me recognize her work more than these numbers however is the vast amount of evidence of her meeting the needs of every single student regardless of their challenges. This year, she has many students with various behavioral, social emotional and academic challenges. Alison has managed to completely shift her plans and routines that she made in the summer to address the reality of this cohort. Many teachers are great, but not every great teacher shows the flexibility to shift their practice so dramatically from one year to the next in order to respond to vastly different cohorts of students so that they ALL feel welcomed and a part of her classroom Crew community.
Whether it is piloting new technology, taking on challenging curriculum, or simply shifting her room floor plan, Alison seeks out support, feedback and guidance from others. So often, teachers try to do everything on their own, but the truly great ones have the confidence to listen to different perspectives and to incorporate new ideas into their practices for the betterment of all their students.
In a time when test results are highlighted to the point where we sometimes overlook the whole child, Alison is that rare teacher that manages to address both of these important areas and makes it look easy in the process. Her students love her for it, the families appreciate her for it, our school is better because of her, and the state should no doubt recognize her for it.
If it were possible to describe Alison Babb in 3 words... I would choose: compassionate, dedicated and consistent. My daughter is in her 2nd grade class this year, and loves her... we all do! It's a big class with a lot of energy! The way she communicates with her students is out of this world. Not only does she listen and care, she puts in a lot of time and effort to meet every child’s needs in her classroom, which is quite extraordinary. She is kind and considerate of all their feelings and strives to get to the bottom of any situation with a positive resolution. It’s incredibly difficult to put into words all the time and energy she puts into these children. She is constantly trying out new things as to what could support and benefit each individual child. And this is on top of having a structured curriculum composed every day. Ali's techniques are amazing and her patience is immense. She is beyond words organized and her ability to forge trusting relationships with her students is admirable. I believe she should be recognized for all her hard work and would make an excellent candidate for this nomination.
Nominated by: Tamra Philbook
Nominated by: Jennifer Doyle
Tonya Prentice is the epitome of a dedicated teacher. She goes above and beyond to provide individualized instruction. Her classroom is warm and inviting....and busy! She teaches through many hands-on learning projects that are interdisciplinary. Science and STEM are integrated daily. Kids are also learning about current events and environmental factors. Her love of learning is contagious. The kids are about to raise salmon eggs in the classroom and set free to the wild. Tonya provides a place where kids are hungry to learn. I have never met such a dedicated teacher and feel so lucky my child has her as his teacher.
Nominated by: Kelley Strout
Mrs. Dube demonstrates the highest quality of teaching that every teacher should aspire to achieve. I have had the pleasure of having two children in Mrs. Dube’s Kindergarten class. My first son, Cameron, went into Kindergarten, not knowing any of his letter sounds or any basic math. Cameron is anxious and struggled with his Kindergarten transition.
In the current academic environment where teachers are handed standardized curriculum with scripts, it amazes me how much Mrs. Dube can adapt her learning strategies to meet the needs of all learners. She aspires to keep learning “fun.” In two years between my children, I’ve seen her create dozens of new letter and number games to inspire learning. She integrates structured curriculum with creative assignments that enhance the curriculum and student learning. Mrs. Dube loves her students, and she is confident that they can achieve beyond their own beliefs. She does this by creating a welcoming and respectful classroom where students love her and each other. I’ve heard many students ask Mrs. Dube to be their mom. Mrs. Dube exemplifies teaching excellence and is the most deserving of Maine Teacher of the Year award.
Nominated by: John Keane
In the class Mrs. Gregory is a teacher that has honed her craft to a amazing level. She employs all the most modern and effective pedagogies and techniques and as such her student show great growth in their reading and writing capabilities . Her talent and competency is so developed that I feel she is a real candidate of the quality of a teacher of the year. Outside of the classroom Mrs. Gregory coaches, takes graduate level classes and nurtures a very beautiful family with two young children. She somehow has also found time to serve as the Teacher Association president where she focuses her efforts on promoting the teaching profession. She is a real life role model for all our students but n particular she is someone our young ladies look up to and respect. For all of these reasons and many, many more I feel she is worthy to be recognized as a County Teacher of the year.
Nominated by: Madigan Saunders
Mrs. Candland is invested in her students in and out of the classroom. She is always supporting all of her students and wants for all of them to succeed. Her sarcastic nature, warm and glowing personality always welcomes everyone into her room. She has a love for animals, and being an alumni for Bowdoin College. I will never forget my freshman year when I had Mrs. Candland, on our class breaks we would watch her live Cat cam in her home. I’m a senior and when I walk by her class I still remember everything from her world religions class. I casually will sit down in the back of the class and answer questions that she asks her students. She has a way of teaching that allows kids to interact with each other and retain the information. I love and will miss her very much after I graduate, and I think it is time that she gets the recognition she deserves!
Nominated by: David Dorr
Jen is the Early Childhood Education Instructor at the Somerset Career & Technical Center. She continues to impress me with her level of knowledge and expertise in the field of Early Childhood Education, her passion for teaching and the amount she cares about the students in Somerset County.
She is a faculty member of the Maine Educator’s Consortium and an Adjunct Professor at Kennebec Valley Community College. Jen recently became a National Board-Certified Teacher.
Jen is a quiet leader at SCTC. She is the first to volunteer when there is an opportunity to help. Jen is an advisor for the schools SkillsUSA Chapter. Jen has been the mentor for many of our newest staff members. She was part of a collaborative group at Skowhegan Area High School that worked to implement Proficiency-based Education and is currently on a team to implement Trauma-informed practices in the district by leading a book group discussing “Help for Billy”.
Jen was the co-lead when SCTC went through the Comprehensive School Review for the state and has participated with MDOE on the CSR team to review another CTE. She is one of the members of the Somerset Youth Collaborative with representatives from different schools, organizations and non-profits, which is working collaboratively to improve the lives of the youth of Somerset County. Jen is an amazing role model for her students. They are often the school leaders, participating on the Student Leadership Team or as officers for the Technical Centers SkillsUSA Chapter. She is often seen with the students as they volunteer at the Elementary schools during open houses or Parent Teacher conferences. They have done community service projects like, painting rooms at the homeless shelter or reading to young children. The SkillsUSA Chapter recently began a food pantry at the school with the help of the local Rotary Club. Jen’s students are very successful. Many go on to become teachers or work in the Early Childhood Education field. Her students graduate with six to nine college credits from her class, but several take advantage of the early college courses offered through SCTC’s Early College program and graduate with as many as a semester’s worth of credits toward their degree.
I feel blessed to have such a dynamic, energetic and compassionate person as a staff member at SCTC. It is needless to say I rely on her expertise and drive to elevate the success of the staff and students at the school. She is amazing and I whole-heartedly nominate her for County Teacher of the Year.
Nominated by: Glen Widmer and Rob Bywater
Some teachers have a strong grasp of curriculum and how to effectively teach it so a wide range of students will understand. Some teachers have a gift for relating to children; they have an ability to sense where a student is both academically as well as emotionally and meet those students' needs. Other teachers excel at bringing the latest advances in education into their classroom, while still others are skilled at hooking kids through creative learning experiences. What makes Sara Pendleton unique is that she is gifted in all these areas.
And, in addition to all these skills, Mrs Pendleton, or Miss Sara, as the students refer to her, consistently maintains a positive and highly encouraging attitude. Sara has co-chaired our student civil rights club which is an exceptionally active and effective student group. Recently we had a delicate issue at school that needed to be addressed. Sara led a civil rights presentation to the classroom of students involved to help them gain a better understanding of what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not. She did this during her lunch break and has offered to return to do a follow up presentation.
Sara is a member of our Farm to School advisory group. She has assumed a leadership role at our school, not only bringing farm to school teaching methods into her own classroom, but also by leading a group of teachers who are spending their professional learning time exploring how to institute similar practices into their teaching.
The bottom line is that she is an excellent practitioner with a true knack for reaching ALL students. Kids love to be in her classroom; it is always abuzz with activity. Ms Sara is never in one spot in the room when I walk in as she is constantly circulating through the room checking in with students and listening to what they have to say. She creatively and effectively weaves Star Wars and Harry Potter themes into her teaching in a way that is fully embraced by the students. Her impact is great, in her classroom, in the other third grade classrooms, and in the professional development and leadership of the whole of Captain Albert Stevens School.
Nominated by: Dani Alley
She is a great teacher who puts her students first, and is able to explain math so the students understand. She has taught for many years and no one deserves this anymore. She is willing to stay after school just about every night to help students in need of extra help. I have had two of my own children have her for a teacher both liked her very much. My daughter is always in need of help and she is always there for her and helps her. I am very thankful that both my children were lucky enough to have her for a math teacher. I feel that she helps them transition from grammar school to high school very well.
Nominated by: Karl Francis
York High School Choral Director, Rob Westerburg, is the best of the best! In my 24 years of experience as an educator, I find it difficult to provide another name that rises to the level of teaching that I see regularly in his classroom.
Rob has the innate ability to connect with students. He is genuine and prioritizes relationships with students in order to understand their strengths and barriers and the impact to learning. Through these relationships, students are comfortable to push themselves, make mistakes, gain confidence, and obtain a higher level of skills.
There is a distinct and obvious passion visible in his teaching. If you are fortunate enough to watch him teach, you will see a man that exudes positive energy and interest in students and learning. He is active, funny, and in 100 percent full participation. Students respond to his modeling and exhibit similar behaviors.
Rob’s teacher efficacy is extremely high. He has an ability to provide formative feedback in the moment that is truly impactful to learning. He understands the content and differentiates for 30-40 students. I routinely receive accolades from students and parents on Rob’s ability to help students learn and grow musically.
Rob has made a significant impact in Maine and throughout New England in the area of Performing Arts. For many years, he has participated in State Level curriculum planning. He is often requested by other school districts throughout New England to teach their general educators on measuring skills through standards. Rob is also requested to work with and conduct All State students and performances.
It is very difficult to represent Rob’s impact on students and the state of Maine in 500 words. I would highly recommend him for Maine Teacher of the Year and he gives all that he has to students and does it extremely well.