Event brings together educators, students, policymakers, business, and civic leaders; celebrates and honors Maine education leaders

PORTLAND – Educate Maine, in partnership with the MELMAC Education Foundation, will host its 2021 Education Symposium this Friday, Dec. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. General Dynamics – Bath Iron Works is the event sponsor. This year’s virtual event brings together hundreds of educators, business and civic leaders, policymakers, and students from across Maine to share knowledge, innovative ideas, best practices, and timely strategies for helping all Maine people reach their highest educational potential. This year also marks an exciting milestone for Educate Maine, as it celebrates 10 years of increasing the educational attainment and career readiness of Maine people.

Presentations and more than 20 breakout sessions throughout the day Friday will focus on:

  • Business and education partnerships that strengthen pathways into Maine’s workforce;
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that have a positive impact on education and workforce outcomes, with an emphasis on racial and gender equity;
  • Highlighting student leaders and/or student groups who are making a difference in their school communities; and
  • Policies that can help achieve Maine’s statewide education attainment goal.

A morning panel discussion with education and business leaders beginning at 10:30 a.m. will focus on Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy and ways organizations across Maine are developing and attracting talent using innovative pathways, inclusive partnerships, and research and development. Panelists are:

  • Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias; vice chancellor for Research and Innovation for the University of Maine System
  • Dr. Catharine MacLaren, LCSW, CEAP, SHRM-SCP, vice president, talent & diversity, Northern Light Health
  • Michael Ross, manager, talent acquisition & org. development, Bath Iron Works
  • Dr. Jason Judd, executive director, Educate Maine (moderator)

An afternoon session beginning at 1 p.m. will include Educate Maine’s annual Leadership Awards honoring Maine’s education leaders and the symposium’s keynote address. This year’s keynote speaker is 2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy, who teaches pre-K at Winfield Early Learning Center in Kansas. Rosproy’s passion is early childhood education and social-emotional learning. Her unique pre-K classroom is housed within a retirement community and nursing home where students interact with community residents who serve as volunteer “grandmas” and “grandpas.” She will share stories from her experiences and shine a light on educational models that we might leverage here in Maine.

During the awards, Educate Maine will present its Weston L. Bonney Education Leadership Award – an annual award honoring an individual, group, organization, or Maine business that demonstrates leadership, commitment, and vision in ensuring that all Maine students have the opportunity to succeed. 2021’s awardee is the Maine Early Learning Investment Group, (MELIG) – an initiative led by a group of business leaders to raise and invest funds in the healthy development of Maine’s youngest children and their families – in recognition of MELIG’s tremendous contributions advocating for high quality early learning for all Maine students. MELIG co-chair Jim Clair will accept the award.

Please click here for the symposium’s full agenda, including descriptions of all breakout sessions, and to register to attend, or visit https://www.educatemaine.org/events/2021-annual-symposium.

Educate Maine champions career readiness by increasing the educational attainment of Maine people, enabling all students to succeed in postsecondary education and in the workplace. Landmark programs include the Maine Teacher of the Year program, Education Leaders Experience, Project>Login, and Maine Career Catalyst. More information is available at educatemaine.org. Educate Maine is a founding member of MaineSpark, a coalition of education and business leaders working together to achieve a common goal: by 2025, 60 percent of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position Maine and its families for success.