My Teacher of the Year Journey

Gloria Noyes, 2009 Maine State Teacher of the Year

Archive for May, 2009

A Memorable Moment with Sen. Collins…


Wow!!!  Today was such a marvelous morning for Congin students and staff.  We were all so excited for the Senator’s arrival and were thrilled when she entered the doors of our school.  Immediately, Senator Susan Collins met us with a smile that was warm and kind.   She was soon surrounded by several fifth grade students and took the time to shake hands or speak to each of the children present. 


My class wanted to give Senator Collins a gift, so we decided to make her a book filled with Maine characters that included a biography about each character created by the students.  All of the pictures were gorgeous and the bios were hysterical and entertaining.  When I handed the book to Senator Collins, she opened it and started from page one and asked who drew the picture and made a nice comment to that child…unbelievably, she continued to do that for every single character.  I was very touched that she took the time to make each one of my students feel special and valued.  I continued to witness her genuine interest and respect for all of the students and adults she encountered throughout her time with us.

After the Senator received a tour of Congin, guided by our Student Council President and Vice President, she went into the library to read a book to both Mrs. Barker’s and my class.  As if the Senator had been teaching for years, she captivated her audience with one of Maine’s favorite children’s books… Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.  Throughout the read aloud, she engaged the children with thoughtful questions relating to the book.  I especially liked it when she asked the kids how they might be able to make the world a more beautiful place.  Isn’t that a great question for all of us to ponder or better yet…act upon? 

Honestly, I know her time with us has already left a lasting impression on all of us.  Later today, I took my son to Dairy Queen and he started telling the lady taking our order all about Senator Collins coming to Congin.  The young lady seemed very interested and asked Isaac if the Senator said anything special that he remembered.  Ike replied, “Yes…if you try hard you can be anything you want to be.  You just have to follow your dreams.”  Needless to say, I got choked up.  I was so moved that my son heard her message and better yet, he now has an outstanding role model to look up to as he makes his way through this world.

  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Uncategorized
  • A Touching Moment for a Teacher…

    Today, I was privileged to attend a former student’s (Stephanie Neales) college graduation.  Over the years, Stephanie’s family has invited me to attend their daughter’s high school and now college parties and graduations.  I know how precious a gesture such as this is… for I had a teacher that attended my college graduation party, our wedding and several other special events.  It is priceless when you have a lasting connection and affection with your teacher/student.  I am humbled that you consider me for these events.

    Today was an especially proud moment, because Stephanie’s father, who is stationed overseas… protecting our country, was unable to return home for her graduation and asked me to use his ticket and be there for his daughter.  Teacher or not, receiving a call like that is incredibly touching.  I was extremely honored to be there for Steph, and I could not be more proud of her for graduating cum laude… with an Education Degree!!!

    On a side note, I’d like to congratulate all of my former students for attaining their high school or college level diplomas.  I couldn’t be more proud of all of you…life-long learning is something to be valued and held in the highest of esteem.  CONGRATULATIONS!  If you are graduating from Westbrook High School next month, I’ll see you at Merrill Auditorium…I attend every year to watch my kids receive the recognition they so deserve.

    Thank you, Harry and Connie for allowing me to be included in both of your beautiful girls’ lives…I only hope I get your third daughter, too!!!  Also, I must thank Harry for thinking of me…you have given me a gift that will be cherished forever.   Neales family…I love you all to pieces!

    Hey, if anyone knows of a high school social studies position for Stephanie let me know???  ;)

  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Uncategorized
  • My dear friend, Michelle Gagne, who was a Maine Teacher of the Year finalists and the recipient of the Milken Award for 2009, was honored by the Milken Family Foundation…in California two weeks ago!  Today there was a story in the newspaper talking about Michelle and me…  here’s the link and the article.  Way to go Michelle!!! You are so deserving of this honor.

    Two Maine teachers recognized

    Submitted By Giselle Goodman,
    Staff Writer
    on Friday, May. 8 at 9:21 am

    Two teachers from Maine have received awards recently during two separate events.

    Gloria Noyesof Congin Elementary School in Westbrook, the
    2009 Maine Teacher of the Year, was among those recognized by Pres.
    Barack Obama at a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House April 28.

    Michelle Gagne, an elementary school teacher at Sherwood
    Heights School in Auburn, was one of 70 top teachers from around the
    country honored by the Milken Family Foundation on April 18 at a
    black-tie gala that Teacher Magazine calls the “Oscars of Teaching.”

    Both teachers are being lauded as two of Maine’s brightest stars.

    “We could not ask for finer representatives of teaching from Maine
    than Gloria and Michelle,” said Maine Education Commissioner Susan
    Gendron. “Their energy and dedication to the students and to the
    teaching profession are clear to all who meet them, most of all their
    students. I commend them on their achievements and I am so glad they
    are receiving the national recognition they deserve.”

    Copyright 2009 Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. All
    rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast

  • Filed under: Uncategorized
  • WLOB Fox Morning News w/ Ray and Ted…


    Ray and Glo
    Ray and Glo
    This morning, I was thrilled to be invited back to the Fox Morning Show with Ray Richardson and Ted Talbot. They were both so excited about the Teacher of the Year Program, as well as, all of the cool things that I’ve been offered to do while being the Maine T.o.Y.   Ted asked a rather thoughtful question about how teachers get materials and supplies with all of the budget cuts…my response was on the lines of…teachers seem to always make do with what we are handed.  Our children come first …and teachers will do whatever they can to get the materials needed to enhance their learning and creativity of learning for their students.  Often times, we use our own money to purchase supplies, snacks, games, project/craft materials, etc.  for our students.  We are resourceful and find sources like Ruth’s Reusable Resources, community members and parents to donate materials needed for rich instruction to take place.  

    Something I didn’t mention is these budget cuts have had negative consequences on our students in many ways…for example: some student services have been eliminated that once helped our needest population of students, extra-curricular activities in some districts have been cancelled, classroom sizes have increased due to the loss of teacher positions and materials are not ordered or available due to budget constraints making learning less rich, engaging or productive.  Teachers and administrators do their best to counter-act these funding issues…however, it does get challenging at times.

    Once again, it was a pleasure to visit the WLOB studio…if you are in the area tune in to 95.5 FM to hear Ray and Ted’s Fox Morning Show, it’s a great way to start your day.  Thanks a bunch for having me on your show, guys!!! 

    Ted and Glo
    Ted and Glo


  • Filed under: Uncategorized
  • Senator Collins is coming to Congin!!!

     Around 10:30 this morning, I received a call from Kay at Senator Collin’s office!  She informed me that the Senator would like to come visit our classroom and Congin School on May 27th.  To be honest, I was quite taken aback that she had her staff call so soon…two days after our last encounter.  (On Friday, May 1st, Senator Collins and I flew home on the same flight.  She came up to me and very warmly congratulated me again on my award and thanked me for being a teacher. She then mentioned that she was truly looking forward to visiting Congin.  Then when we landed in Portland, once again…Senator Collins thanked me and said she had called her office to make sure they set up a time for her to come see us.  I was very touched that she couldn’t stop thanking and congratulating me…also that she wanted to come visit our school.)

    Thank you, Senator Susan Collins…we are counting down the days until we get to spend some time with you!

  • Filed under: Uncategorized