Two area teachers, both employed by Newport-based Regional School Unit 19, have been nominated to become Maine’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.
Anne Carney, a second-grade teacher at St. Albans Consolidated School, and Mary Graziano, a fourth-grade teacher at Hartland Consolidated School, are among 14 teachers nominated statewide.
The program highlights great teachers and teaching, according to a news release from state Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. One nominee will be named the Teacher of the Year during a surprise event in September.
Denise Kimball, principal of the Hartland school, a pre-kindergarten-through-grade four school, said Graziano believes that every child can learn, no matter how much he or she struggles academically or behaviorally.
“She spends every moment of the day and sometimes into the night doing everything she can to get through to all students,” Kimball said. “She believes, no matter what, all children can learn and does everything in her power to have that happen.”
Graziano, 34, who earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of Maine, said all children can succeed if they have people in their lives that encourage them and motivate them. She has been teaching for 11 years.
“It feels pretty amazing,” Graziano said. “It’s nice to have recognition. We do a lot of goal setting, we do a lot of self reflection. I have very high expectations and believe they can do it.”
Randy Gould, principal at the St. Albans school, also a a pre-kindergarten-through-grade four school, said Carney was nominated largely because of the relationships she builds with her students and their families.
“She is a very well spoken, wonderful communicator; parents adore her and she is very popular with staff,” Gould said of Carney. “It seemed to me she was somebody who could represent the teaching profession well. Her classroom is such a positive place.”
Carney, 42, also a University of Maine graduate, said she believes in the community of her classroom.
“We learn together with the understanding that mistakes happen, but we learn from those mistakes,” she said. “It’s feels wonderful to get this nomination. It’s humbling, but at the same time it’s a wonderful thing to be recognized for something like this.”
A teacher can be nominated as Teacher of the Year by anyone, by fellow teachers or students. The nomination is sent to the school principal, who submits it to the commissioner’s office.
A specially appointed panel will visit each semi-finalist’s school for a full day as part of the selection process. Each visit includes a student-led tour of the school; a classroom observation; conversations with parents, colleagues, administrators and students; and a wrap-up meeting with the semi-finalist.
All costs for the winner are reimbursed by a state Teacher of the Year Association, which is fully funded by Hannaford Bros., according to the department’s web site. Bangor Savings Bank pays the cost of a substitute when the Teacher of the Year is not in the classroom.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367