My Teacher of the Year Journey

Gloria Noyes, 2009 Maine State Teacher of the Year

Archive for October, 2009

Start spreading the news…I love NY!!!

The Pearson Foundation afforded the State Teachers of the Year the opportunity to attend one of three broadway shows. I was fortunate to see The Jersey Boys, it was FABULOUS!!! The music, storyline, and production was spectacular. Pictured above are several of the state teachers…(L to R) Vicki (New York), Linda (Illinois), Cindy (Kansas), Derek (Minnesota), Me…(Maine), Debbie (Louisiana),Kim (back is turned D.C.), and Barbara (Rhode Island).

Our night ended with dinner at Carmine’s restaurant. The food was exquisite and offered artistic food displays. After dinner we presented our friend Murali from American Samoa with a check for 2,500.00, in hopes of helping the people of his area who had just been hit by a tsunami. In two days, our SToY group raised $1, 250.00 and when the Pearson Foundation heard what we did they offered to match it! :)

My night ended with a shopping trip to the M & M store to buy my two sons (Isaac and Maxwell) a few gifts. I was in awe of the nightlife, lights, and energy that New York City offered. On a Sunday night in Westbrook, Maine… you would be lucky to see two or three people walking down Main Street.

The next morning at 6 a.m.the SToY group went to the Today Show Plaza to promote an upcoming Pearson sponsored event called, “Read for the Record.” On October 8th, everyone will be encouraged to read Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to raise money for early literacy awareness.

After the Today Show the SToYs all made a video about why we teach. This was a very cool process. You had to be filmed first, then you and a partner worked on editing, splicing, and adding effects to your video. Please check out the amazing stories of the 2009 State Teachers of the Year…you might want to grab some tissues!!! Enjoy! These videos can be seen at:

The last day in New York was by far the hardest day! New York marked our final chapter on the great year of traveling and learning together as a collective group. Although I truly believe several of us will be in contact with one another, the likelihood of us all being under the same roof at the same time is rare.  Today, my heart aches…it is hard to know that in a few months I will not be greeted by my fifty plus friends at our next engagement. I am sad that the voices I grew to love will not be sharing a precious story in one of the many accents I had grown accustom to. However, my life is forever more beautiful and changed for the gifts that each of my friends have given to me. The stories, laughter, and unconditional love will resonate within my memories and my heart. I am a better person and teacher for knowing this extraordinary 2009 SToY group.  Until we meet again… may love and peace fill your hearts!

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  • Day Two…Where do I grow from here?

    Mary Beth Blegen 1996 N.T.o.Y.
    Mary Beth Blegen 1996 N.T.o.Y.
    Rat's/Grounds for Sculptures
    In front of Rat’s Restaurant

    Our day started with a greeting from the President and CEO of ETS, Kurt Landgraf.  He was very warm, teacher friendly and thoughtful in his address to us.  We then heard three of the N.T.o.Y.s share their incredible journeys and how they now see themselves in leadership roles.

    Mary Beth Blegen, the 1996 National Teacher of the Year, said a few things that seemed to weigh heavily with me.  One of the most powerful things I heard her quote was…” We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”  This is so true.  Think about this statement… it is simple, yet profound.  She also said to “stop whining” it doesn’t change anything.  Again, true.  Instead of using all the energy it takes to whine, I think I’ll use that energy to make a change or help find a solution to my “whine.”  Mary Beth talked a lot about what it looks like to be a teacher leader, she said three key words that would benefit anyone in a leadership role and that is to:  Listen, Learn, and Ask Questions.  As someone who would like to someday pursue more leadership roles, I will cradle these ideas and use them always.

    Our day was full of intriguing speakers and we finished the work part of our day in our home rooms, once again processing what we heard all day and how we will take what we have learned and use it to serve more students, colleagues, parents, etc. After this session ended @ 4Pm, we got ready for another night of being entertained and spoiled.

    Dot (Dept. of Defense) and Mr. Johnson
    Dot (Dept. of Defense) and Mr. Johnson

    Our group went to Hamilton, NJ, to see the “Grounds for Sculpture” a 35-acre public sculpture park.  J. Seward Johnson (on a side note…his family is “the Johnson and Johnson” family)  created an outdoor permanent art collection of sculptures that includes his take on Renoir, Monet and Vanderbilt to name a few.  It was breath taking and surreal.  The grounds were meticulously groomed with lighted paths, gorgeous landscaping and the art was stunning.  After a guided tour, we were seated in the restaurant called “Rat’s” (named after The Wind in the Willow book and character known as “Ratty.” ) for a five course meal that had specific wines to accompany each selection.  It was a divine evening!

    T.o.Y. Sistas...Deb and Glo
    T.o.Y. Sistas…Deb and Glo

    The "evil" T.o.Y. sistas...Helga and Harriett
    The “evil” T.o.Y. sistas…Helga and Harriett

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  • Traveling to New Jersey was lovely…the flight was on-time, my luggage was there waiting for me and the car ride with two of the dearest teachers from North Carolina and Wisconsin was filled with laughter and gorgeous views of Princeton.  We stayed at the stunningly lavish Chauncey Center is owned by ETS. (Educational Testing Service) This generous organization along with the CCSSO/National Teacher of the Year Program helped sponsor all of the State Teachers of the Year who attended this conference.  We were provided with a beautiful facility to use during our thoughtful discussions and presentations.  Thank you ETS and CCSSO!!!  Our guest rooms were splendid as well.  I’m starting to get used to being pampered like this… a different state every two months…maids cleaning my room… gourmet meals… lavish affairs… maybe this conference should be called… Back to Reality Steps to Avoid Severe Depression. :)

    Our time in Princeton was full of rich learning opportunities to discuss and ponder what it means to be a S.T.o.Y, and what we will do with this life changing experience.  We were fortunate to hear from several speakers, five of whom were former National Teachers of the Year… Mary Beth Blegen (1996), Betsy Rogers (2003), Kimberly Oliver Burnim (2006), Andrea Peterson (2007) and Mike Geisen (2008).  It was so interesting to hear what each N.T.o.Y. has done since their year as a state teacher and as a national teacher. Some have stayed in the classroom, while a few have gone into consulting type roles.  We also had home room sessions facilitated by the past N.T.o.Y.s.  I happened to be in the New England + group (we also had a few other states that are regionally near us) facilitated by Kimberly Oliver Burnim.  I don’t care what anyone says, New Englanders rock!!!  In all seriousness, we are a very close group and I foresee us reuniting frequently.  We even had the National Teacher of the Year, Anthony “Tony” Mullen, from Connecticut in our group.  You should check out his blog on the Teacher Magazine website: He has such a gift for writing and for provoking a deep and insightful way to view the things he witnesses on his own journey, as the 2009 National Teacher of the Year.

    New England S.T.o.Y. 2009 Group

    Some of the questions we processed over the three days were: Who was I in Dallas? (That was our first conference as state teachers)  What did I learn?  What did I teach?  Who and how do I lead? and Where do I go from here?  It was a great way to finalize our year.  Listening to everyone respond to these questions, as well as writing down and sharing my thoughts…made me realize that my Teacher of the Year journey isn’t ending, it is actually just beginning.  I have done so many cool things this year… things that have opened my mind and challenged my teaching soul.  I’ve been inspired to use my voice and I’m not afraid to lead should I need to.  I am a changed person for the better.

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