Teachers from 15 Maine counties were recognized Thursday as being among the state’s best.

The 2019 County Teachers of the Year includes Heather Whitaker, a teacher at Gorham Middle School; Ethel Atkinson, a teacher at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Buxton, Shawn Rice at Edward Little High School in Auburn, and Emily Bowen at Hall-Dale Middle/High School in Farmingdale, will now compete for 2020 teacher of the year honors.

“The Maine Teacher of the Year program offers all of us the opportunity to celebrate the phenomenal work that is being accomplished every day in Maine’s public schools,” Pender Makin, Maine’s commissioner of education, said in a statement. “Each of the County Teachers of the Year exemplifies a deep commitment to Maine’s students and a belief in the power of education to create positive and lasting change.”

All of the teachers must develop a professional portfolio and submit a video showcasing their classroom instructional practices.

Lincoln County had no nominee that both met the criteria and completed the application process.

The field be narrowed down to three finalists over the next several months before the winner is selected in October.

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