BANGOR – the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) recognized Karen Frye as SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER OF THE YEAR. MADSEC is the association of special education administrators in Maine’s local public schools, private special education schools, and Child Development Services (preschool) sites.
Sharon Brady, Special Education Administrator with RSU #26, introduced Karen and presented her with the award at the MADSEC Awards Dinner held at Bangor Hilton Garden Inn, June 25th.
Karen describes her transition to special education as a happy “accident.” She is the type of person who is frequently recruited and asked to fill different roles, and she discovered her passion for teaching struggling learners when she accepted the position of Reading Teacher. This passion sent Karen back to school where she completed her Masters in Special Education in 2002 and Certificate of Advanced Study in 2005. She started working in the field of special education in 1998 as a special education teacher in Old Town, Maine. Karen moved to Glenburn School District and worked extensively with student evaluation, K-12. That role expanded when Glenburn needed a special education director. She served in that role for four years. She accepted the resource room teacher position at the Orono High School in 2006 to continue her work directly with students and has never looked back. Her prior experience in regular education has been invaluable in helping teachers in the district meet the needs of all learners.
Karen is a leader in her school and in the district. She volunteers for teaching assignments with students who experience significant challenges to their education success. She supports staff and students across schools. She loves to work with new curriculum and technology, and she mentors new staff. She is a member of the district level ELA Common Core group and several special education committees. She actively serves as a staff trainer for several key programs in the district. Karen also works hard to support families. It is not uncommon for Karen to visit parents at home, in order to help them stay engaged in school and support their child.
Karen describes her work as something she could do forever. She lights up when she talks about helping a student move forward with their life and says that feeling recharges her everyday. Karen is what all teachers want to be – someone who loves their work; is knowledgeable and skilled; gifted with common sense; and is always kind and willing to support her students through her own hard work and through her support of families and staff.
Karen has been married to Curtis for over 30 years and has raised two outstanding sons! She lives in Holden, Maine.