Matt Bernstein, the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year, embraces East End Community School third grade teacher Joshua Chard who was receiving the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year award in a ceremony at the school on October 11. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The first episode of a new Maine Department of Education podcast features two Portland public school district teachers.

The debut episode released Thursday of “What Holds us Together,” hosted by Maine DOE Commissioner Pender Makin, starred the state’s 2023 and 2024 teachers of the year. The 2023 teacher of the year, Matt Bernstein, is a ninth grade humanities and social studies teacher at Portland’s Casco Bay High School. Joshua Chard, the 2024 teacher of the year, is a looping second and third grade teacher at the city’s East End Community School.

The three discuss lifting up educator voices, why they love the teaching profession and how the children they teach inspire them.

“The young people we work with are tremendous and I’m genuinely convinced they are going to change the world,” said Bernstein.

“What we get to do is a gift,” he said. “We get to work with some of the most inspiring humans on the planet.”

Each month the podcast will highlight the “inspiring and amazing things happening in Maine schools through conversations with education, school staff and students across our state,” Makin said in the podcast’s intro. New episodes will be released on the third Thursday of the month.

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