From the community

Education commissioner names 2014 Teacher of the Year finalists

Posted Aug. 23, 2013, at 11:49 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2013, at 1:54 p.m.
Mary Graziano
Mary Graziano
Karen MacDonald
Karen MacDonald
Suzen Polk-Hoffses
Suzen Polk-Hoffses

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen has announced that two elementary school teachers and one middle school teacher have been selected as the state finalists for the prestigious title of 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year.

The 2014 finalists are Mary Graziano, a fourth-grade teacher at Hartland Consolidated School in Hartland; Karen MacDonald, a sixth- and seventh-grade English language arts teacher at King Middle School in Portland; and Suzen Polk-Hoffses, a kindergarten teacher at Milbridge Elementary School in Milbridge.

“A great teacher is a mentor who can make all the difference in a student’s life,” said Gov. Paul R. LePage in a press release. “On behalf of the people of Maine, I thank these three terrific teachers and the thousands of other effective, engaging educators across this great state working tirelessly each day to put our students first.”

Six semi-finalists underwent an intensive selection process consisting of a school visit, professional portfolio review and oral presentation. The three state finalists will complete a final interview before the 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year is named at a surprise all-school assembly in September.

According to Education Commissioner Bowen, Maine’s Teacher of the Year process is one of the most rigorous in the nation.

“The Maine Teacher of the Year is a valuable resource and spokesperson for Maine’s talented, professional educators and an advocate for all Maine students,” Bowen said in a press release. “More importantly, this program provides an opportunity for our entire state to celebrate these incredible classroom leaders who are helping to prepare our children for success in college, career and civic life.”

This year’s selection panel members included past Teachers and Milken Educators of the Year, principals, Maine Department of Education staff, members of the State Board of Education, University of Maine faculty and business community representatives.

Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education, administered by Educate Maine. Educate Maine is a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness and increased education attainment with a goal of Maine’s students and workers being the best educated and highly skilled in the world. For more information, visit www.educatemaine.org.

Funding for the program is provided by Hannaford, Geiger and Bangor Savings Bank with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association. For more information, visit www.maine.gov/doe/toy/.

The current Maine Teacher of the Year is Shannon Shanning, a special education teacher at Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland.

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