HAMPDEN, Maine — The RSU 22 director of curriculum, instruction and assessment received a statewide award earlier this week for her work to meet the future educational needs of district students.
Mary Giard, who has been with district for six years, was named Maine Curriculum Leader of the Year for 2013 during the fall conference of the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association, which took place Monday and Tuesday in Freeport, Superintendent Rick Lyons said Wednesday. Giard was nominated for the recognition by the RSU 22 board of directors, he said.
“It was a surprise for her,” Lyons said. “She had no idea she was receiving it.”
“She really embodies what it’s all about to be an effective director of curriculum. This position is really significant given the changing landscape of curriculum, given the national standards-based education movement,” he said.
Giard’s responsibilities include professional development for faculty and staff, updating and modifying curriculum, and overseeing several federally funded educational programs, an initiative that the RSU 22 board has endorsed for the last year, he said.
“In particular, in the past year she’s worked really aggressively on what’s called student-centered standards-based education,” Lyons said. He said that in 2018, the state will require students attending public high schools to earn proficiency-based diplomas.
That, he said, means that in order to graduate, students will have to show that they have mastered the eight education content areas identified in the Maine Learning Results, which were updated two years ago to include Common Core as the standards for English language arts and math.
“So she’s been a real champion and a gatekeeper for moving that forward,” he said, adding that Giard has been working to that end with a community steering group formed to collect input from residents of the RSU 22 member towns of Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh and Frankfort.
Giard also is working to modify the district’s evaluation tool for teachers, which Lyons said will take about three years to fully implement.
“I would certainly say, bottom line, is that Mary is a very tireless worker, very committed to the district. The key part here is that she’s really aligned with the district’s mission and the district’s goals. She believes in those and she really has spearheaded those very nicely,” Lyons said.