University of Maine System Hosts Reunion for Maine Teacher of the Year Grads

Chancellor Dannel Malloy and Education Commissioner Pender Makin participate in an MTOY ‘reunion’ in Orono to highlight alumni success and statewide impact of university education programs.  Twenty-two of the last 28 Maine Teachers of the Year are graduates of the University of Maine System.

Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System hosted a reunion today for public university graduates who have been honored as a Maine Teacher of the Year over the last three decades.  Several alumni of Maine’s public universities were able to attend a reception with Chancellor Dannel Malloy and Commissioner of Education Pender Makin honoring their classroom achievements and the statewide impact of the System’s education programs.
Maine Values Success:  Maine Teachers of the Year

The reunion is part of the Maine Values You student outreach campaign launched by the University of Maine System to increase the number of Maine high school graduates pursuing a post-secondary education in the state.  Elements of the campaign include highlighting the success of public university graduates and how $400 million in annual support for the System’s statewide service and research mission provides Maine students with unmatched academic value, opportunities, and experiences.

Expected Maine Teacher of the Year Honorees who have graduated from a Maine public university with at least one baccalaureate or graduate degree include:

  • 2020 — Heather Whitaker, USM
  • 2018 — Kaitlin Young, UMaine
  • 2017 — Tamara Ranger, UMF
  • 2014 — Karen MacDonald,USM
  • 2012 — Alana Margeson, UMPI
  • 2009 — Gloria Noyes, UMF and USM
  • 2001 — Elaine Hendrickson, UMaine
  • 2000 –  Todd Fields, USM
  • 1998 — Joanne Alex, UMaine

The Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education and is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization working to advance educational attainment and readiness for work among all Mainers.  Honorees are outstanding teachers who represent thousands of excellent educators and serve as advocates for the teaching profession, education, and students.

“It is a great honor to be recognized as a Maine Teacher of the Year and to have the opportunity to represent teachers across the state who are serving their communities and helping to shape Maine’s future,” said Heather Whitaker, the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year who holds an MSEd in Literacy Education from the University of Southern Maine.  “We have an outstanding partnership between local education and public higher education in Maine and it is no surprise that so many of Maine’s Teachers of the Year have degrees from the University of Maine System.”

“The Department of Education recognizes and celebrates all the heroic teachers who daily impact the lives and learning of Maine’s children,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education and a University of Maine System Trustee.  “The Maine Teachers of the Year are exemplars amongst their colleagues, and a reflection of the skills and knowledge that exists in our educator workforce.

“What a testament to our partners in the University of Maine System, who have played an integral role in the professional learning of a majority of Maine’s Teachers of the Year. Their deep commitment to ensuring robust preparation for the most important of all professions is evident year after year, as their alumni are selected to represent all teachers as the Maine Teacher of the Year.

“Thank you for the UMaine System for their dedication to recruiting and supporting an outstanding educator workforce, which positively impacts all Maine communities and the future of our State.”

The Maine Department of Education has certified 598 University of Maine System graduates as educators over the last three years.  Commissioner Makin shared the department’s I Teach Because video at the reunion in which teachers from across Maine talk about what inspires them to be educators.

Support for Local Education

The education faculty and programs of Maine’s public universities are vital to the success of local education.  More than 1,900 learners are enrolled this fall in education programs across the University of Maine System and 9,195 education credentials have been conferred by the System over the last five years.

Additional examples of university programs supporting local education and Maine youth and communities include:

  • The Maine STEM Partnership at UMaine’s RISE Center provides STEM instructional materials and support to more than 250 science classes serving nearly 5,000 Maine students; and,
  • Early College programming has expanded into 130 different Maine high schools, enriching curricula in local schools and providing more than 3,500 Maine high school students this fall with an affordable and successful start on college.

“Education is a calling and a chance to improve lives across generations.  It is also a partnership and at Maine’s public universities we are proud of our education program graduates and our close association with Maine’s local schools,” said Dannel Malloy, Chancellor of the University of Maine System.

“As the University of Maine at Farmington is the state’s first and oldest public institution for teacher education, we take tremendous pride in the UMF graduates who have been named Maine Teacher of the Year,” said UMF President Edward Serna. “Five of the past 10 Maine Teacher of the Year honorees have been UMF graduates, and they are shining examples of our ongoing commitment to preparing students to become transformational classroom teachers.”