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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools and School Principals

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             April 6, 2006

RE:                   A Celebration of School People

            I am very pleased to announce a first of its kind national media campaign and event to Celebrate School People. This exciting project will be launched in our State!  A Celebration of School People has my full support and assistance.

            A Celebration of School People has been thoughtfully designed by two passionate and creative entrepreneurs, Patsy Wiggins and Kathleen Alfiero, the creators of i’monairi’monair is a television program featuring the stories of extraordinary, ordinary people that has aired on Maine PBS and in live theaters throughout Maine.  Patsy and Kathleen have brought together a team of qualified advocates, educators, and media personnel to create and produce a year-long project that has won the admiration and support of Governor Baldacci and Karen Baldacci, the Maine Principals’ Association, the Maine Education Association, the National Education Association, the Maine School Management Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the Center for Empowered Leadership, Visions for a Better World, private and public investors, and other key leaders in the national movement for education reform.

            A detailed letter from i’monair describing this comprehensive project will arrive in your mailbox in the near future. I urge you to read their plan carefully. You will note that the intention of the Celebration is to thank all School People – including teachers, administrators, coaches, librarians, cafeteria workers, counselors, aides, bus drivers, nurses, crossing guards, and everyone – from every school in Maine.  The plan includes a media campaign, a kickoff at the Blaine House in May, six months of collecting interviews and testimonials about the value of caring School People who make a difference, a major event on October 18, 2006 at the Augusta Civic Center, a live show to be taped in a community on a date following the October event, and a thorough sustainability component with materials and resources that will be produced and distributed.

            A kickoff to the full event will occur on May 15, 2006 from 2:00-3:30pm at the Blaine House, co-sponsored by the Department of Education and First Lady Karen Baldacci.   Fifty School People Ambassadors will be invited to attend, representing every county in Maine, the island schools, and the unorganized territories.  A celebrity guest will be present. The Governor will make a proclamation declaring October 18, 2006 as “Celebrate School People Day” and the next steps in this multi-faceted campaign will be explained to participants and the media.  This is a major undertaking and a wonderful tribute to all of Maine’s School People. It has the potential to raise awareness of the positive role of School People for a sustained period of time; and you deserve that recognition.

            Your full cooperation is requested to allow the selected Ambassadors to attend the May reception and launch of the Celebrate School People initiative. The Ambassadors will be honored in the name of all School People from your districts and schools.  i’monair will assist with travel coordination as needed.  They, and I, are determined to make this celebration resound with appreciation for all School People.

            Thank you.  All questions will be enthusiastically addressed by Patsy Wiggins, Kathleen Alfiero, or Linda Hogan from i’monair.  Their letter, which you will receive shortly, will provide contact information.