The Maine Department of Education has named its three 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists, one each from Cumberland, Franklin and Knox counties.

Heather Whitaker. Maine Department of Education.

The teachers are Heather Whitaker, an alternative education teacher at Gorham Middle School in Gorham; Rob Taylor, a math and science teacher at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay; and Tom Gray, a social studies, English and gifted and talented teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport.

A winner will be announced in October following school site visits and final interviews, the department said in a statement.

Rob Taylor. Maine Department of Education.

Whitaker is the 2019 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. She also started her school’s garden and was a founding member of the Gorham BackPack program, which provides students facing chronic hunger with food over the weekend.

Taylor, the 2019 Franklin County Teacher of the Year, has spent his entire 30-year career in Jay-based Regional School Unit 73.

His current school projects include greenhouse and aquaculture systems that provide produce for local food pantries, a drinking water monitoring program and school solar power panels and wind turbines, the statement said.

Tom Gray. Maine Department of Education.

Gray is the 2019 Knox County Teacher of the Year. As the coordinator of his school’s Intercultural Program, he has developed partnerships with educators around the world, giving students an opportunity to interact and collaborate with peers in China, France and Morocco.

He also helped pioneer a district-wide initiative in innovation engineering in partnership with the University of Maine.

 

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