Susan O’Brien, fifth grade teacher at the Weatherbee School in Hamden, is one of fourteen teachers, nominated from all across the state for 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year. She was honored, along with the other Class of 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year nominees, at a celebratory luncheon in Waterville on Saturday, March 16, hosted by the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association. Maine’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, Shannon Shanning, special education teacher at Whittier Middle School in Poland, was Mistress of Ceremonies for the celebration. Along with Maine State Teacher of the Year Association president, Gloria Noyes (2009 TOY), Shannon presented a special framed certificate celebrating Susan as a Nominee for Maine Teacher of the Year, Class of 2014.
All 50 states participate in the national Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington DC. Compared with these 50 different state programs, Maine’s selection process is the most rigorous. One of this year’s nominees described the nomination process as more complex and more challenging than were her applications for graduate school or for the Peace Corps.
Maine’s nomination process by itself is more rigorous than the entire selection process in half the states, which suggests that Susan and each of the other members of the Class of 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year Nominees would qualify right now to be Teacher of the Year in any of 25 other states.
The Weatherbee School and the entire Hamden community can be justifiably proud to have Susan represent all the dedicated educators in the district as a 2014 TOY Nominee.