POLAND, Maine — Shannon Shanning, a special education teacher at the Poland Whittier Middle School, was named the 2013 Maine Teacher of the Year Monday morning.
In keeping with tradition, Shanning was not informed ahead of time that the all-school assembly was called to honor her. She found out when Principal Shawn Vincent asked a screen on stage be removed, and the curtain rose revealing her family members, Poland firefighters, students and dignitaries who came to watch her receive the award.
Students described her as kind, funny and a teacher who ensures they understood what she taught.
Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen presented Shanning with the award — the first awarded to a special education teacher as far back as program records indicate. Bowen also read a letter of congratulations from Gov. Paul LePage.
Shanning’s nominating committee wrote, “Shannon provides an environment of high engagement, challenge and support that inspires students to become more confident, capable and productive learners.” This is demonstrated by her remarkable ability to embed learning in real-world experiences and connect students to the school and greater community.
Shanning grew up and lives in Poland with her husband and daughter. She received bachelor’s degrees in community health education and special education from the University of Maine at Farmington.
Shanning will go on to compete in the selection process for the 2013 National Teacher of the Year, who will be announced in April 2013 at the White House.
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