An eighth-grade language arts teacher in Hampden was named the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year on Wednesday at a surprise event before colleagues and students.

Kelsey Stoyanova, an 8th-grade teacher in Hampden, is the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year. Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Education.

Kelsey Stoyanova, who teaches at Reeds Brook Middle School in Regional School Unit 22, received the award after being named 2021 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year. She will now become a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year.

“Education in Maine should be celebrated today and everyday and in this next chapter as the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year, I look forward to doing just that,” Stoyanova said at Wednesday’s event.

In addition to her work as a teacher, Stoyanova has been an advocate for student involvement in curriculum creation and serves on her district’s Equity in Education Committee, where she designed and implemented a reading challenge for students and community members to highlight diverse authors and characters.

The Teacher of the Year is an annual award administered by the advocacy organization Educate Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education, the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year associations.

Educators are nominated by members of their school communities and the Teacher of the Year is selected following a year-long process that involves portfolio and resume submissions, interviews, oral presentations and classroom visits.

Stoyanova was nominated by two students, Tessa Castrucci and Stella Fox.

“She is a really understanding teacher who plans lessons with her students in mind, making the lessons suited to fit the class and environment,” Castrucci said in an education department news release. “If we are interested in a certain event that happened in our country, we might have a class discussion or assignment about it to encourage our interest while learning the facts.”

In her remarks Wednesday, Stoyanova talked about the importance of story telling and student voice.

“If there is one thing I want students to learn from me, it is the power of their voice and that their voice matters,” she said. “If there is one thing I want students to know, it is that they always deserve to feel seen and heard, in the classroom and in all of life’s pursuits.”

Stoyanova was selected for the award from 16 County Teachers of the Year. The other two finalists for the top honor were Paige Fournier, a special education teacher at Freeport Middle School, and Hillary Hoyt, a third-grade teacher at Leroy H. Smith School in Winterport.


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