My Teacher of the Year Journey

Gloria Noyes, 2009 Maine State Teacher of the Year

Archive for February, 2009

Glo and the Commissioner!!!

Glo and the Commissioner!!!

Super day!!!  This afternoon the Commissioner of Education, Susan Gendron, graciously met with me for an hour to discuss an array of educational ideas, issues, and policies taking place in Maine.  She was thrilled to hear about the Teaching It Forward Scholarship, (generously given to each State Teacher of the Year by the University of Phoenix) a four year tuition free gift, that I so fortunately get to give to a Westbrook High School senior.  Also, she was very excited that the Walden Universityoffered me a tuition free opportunity to obtain another Master’s Degree or a PHD (my choice) in Education.  (I’m so excited about this, too!)  Sitting in her office, I was very touched by her warmth and interest in how my year was going and what she could do for me.  This was especially neat, because only two days earlier, she was in D.C. meeting with Arne Duncan the U.S. Secretary of Education!!!  I am beaming with pride…. knowing that WE (Maine) are leading in education!!!

If you have ever watched the Commissioner speak or have read about the amazing things she is doing for our state, you know that she is truly a dynamo in what she has accomplished academically for Maine.  She is also a brilliant, inspiring, compassionate and sincere woman, whom I deeply admire.  Not only do I respect her as an educational leader in Maine, but as my classmate’s mother.  It has been such an honor to watch “Mrs. Gendron’s” journey towards becoming Maine’s Commissioner.  It was kind of surreal to be sitting next to this iconic woman and then notice over her shoulder, pictures of my two friends from high school, Stacy (her daughter) and Lonnie (Stacy’s husband).  Also, she proudly had several pictures of her grandsons as well.  It was so fantastic to go from serious educational issues to laughing and sharing personal insights of our family life…what a great time. ~ Thank you so much, Commissioner!

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    How cool…I get to spend my 23rd (ha..ha..ha) birthday with some of Maine’s Senators and Representatives!!!   The Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education (MCEE) and the Maine Compact for Higher Education (College for ME) held a breakfast at the Augusta Senator Inn to discuss the “Critical Issues in PreK-12 and Post Secondary Education.” Four Legislators (Sen. Justin Alfond, Rep. Emily Cain, Rep. Hannah Pingree and Richard Rosen) from 124th Legislature spoke about issues such as:  The need for more funding to be available for education, helping our Maine students with being able to afford college, preparing our students for critical jobs that need to be filled here in Maine and else where, offering alternative programs for students who are not succeeding in the typical school environment, investing in Pre-K as an early intervention and preparing our students earlier, and once again the discussion went back to… we need more money to support the standards we want our students to achieve! 

    Another thing that really interested me during this discussion was the fact that we need to attract and keep quality teachers, by offering competitive wages and a strong mentoring program. (Yippppeeee! I couldn’t agree more!) The discussion also went to the idea of looking at the revision of our educational programs throughout the University System.  On a personal note, I feel this idea of revamping the current structure in place, may better prepare our pre-service teachers for the diversity of obstacles that they will encounter upon starting a teaching career.  I am in no way knocking the fantastic education I received at the University of Maine Farmington; In fact, I feel I had a top-notch education.  It is just that times are changing and the challenges of teaching are getting harder, I can attest to this.

    Looking back on my own college experience, I don’t feel that some of the courses I was required to take helped me out as much as my student teaching placement did.   My plithe is that we focus more time on getting pre-service teachers in actual classrooms.  The more time an education student gets to witness the behaviors, I.E.P.s (Individualized Education Plans), PLCs (Professional Learning Communities), R.t.I.s (Response to Invention) or S.A.T.s (Student Assistance Team), standardized grading, grade level and staff meetings, planning time, etc… the better equipped and prepared they will be when hired.  Of course, the other part of my plithe is to make sure these pre-service teachers get placed with exceptional teachers that will mentor them throughout there stay.  If you are an educator or a pre-service teacher, I’d love to hear your thoughts on restructuring the teaching programs at the University level.

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  • Maine or Bust!!!

    After a memorable night and little sleep, I’m on my way home to Maine.  I’ll truly miss the new friends I’ve made in Dallas.  The time is going so slow… as I can’t wait to see my two sons, Isaac and Max and my husband, Steve.   I’ve missed them all terribly.  I also can’t wait to see my students and my Congin family!

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