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Sanford Teacher Named 2008 Maine Teacher of the Year
Martin McKeon is chosen from among 19 nominees and eight finalists
September 11, 2007
AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron named Martin McKeon, a Sanford High School history teacher, the 2008 Maine Teacher of the Year in front of students and colleagues at Memorial Gym in Sanford Tuesday. In keeping with tradition, McKeon was not informed ahead of time that the “school assembly” was called to honor him.
Gendron praised McKeon for his “excellence as a teacher and for being an outstanding role model in his field.”
“It is truly an honor for all of us to be in the presence of, and recognize the gifts of such a talented educator, who exemplifies many of the finest qualities in this, the noblest of all professions – teaching. Maine has some of the finest, most experienced educators in America, and we honor all of Maine’s teachers by recognizing in our Teacher of the Year the qualities of excellence that exist in teachers and schools all over the state.”
McKeon, a 1975 graduate of Sanford High School, returned to his hometown 23 years years ago to teach social studies to freshman students. McKeon chose to teach freshmen because it is a year of tremendous growth in academics and maturation for students. One strategy McKeon uses is the services of at least one “student intern,” often a sophomore, in each of his freshman classes. These organized, successful, yet personable students serve as additional role models as well as “sets of eyes” for supervision, allowing for more efficient help with content questions, research projects, and behavioral monitoring. McKeon has helped with numerous extra curricular activities throughout the school such as pep club advisor, mentor trainee, freshmen team coordinator, and one of the two advisors to this year’s senior class. One colleague cited his “incredible vision as I found out last year when we were decorating our gymnasium for the Prom. He is easy to work with as he pulls his own weight and often times more!” McKeon lives in Sanford, and has two daughters and a son.
McKeon received his Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude with special honors in history from Nasson College and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University Graduate School. Superintendent John Turcotte; school principal, Alan Young; and McKeon’s colleagues nominated him for the Maine Teacher of the Year program in January. Subsequently he underwent scrutiny by a team of educators who spent the day at his school in May. He then compiled a professional portfolio that was scored by another group of educators. And McKeon had to give an oral presentation in which he showed his teaching technique. Finally McKeon and four other state finalists were interviewed by several former Teachers of the Year who made the final determination.
The annual selection process began with 19 nominees representing all grade levels and schools from every part of the state. The field was then narrowed to eight regional finalists and further reduced to the five state finalists: Charlena Beganny, physical education and health teacher at Carrie Ricker and Libby Tozier Schools in Litchfield; Peter Devine, a special education teacher at Dexter Regional High School; Andrea Napolitano-Romer, elementary teacher at Riverton School and Community Center in Portland; and George Shabo, a music teacher at Loranger Middle School in Old Orchard Beach.
The ceremony was attended by several previous Teacher of the Year recipients; Superintendent John Turcotte; Michael Labbe of Hannaford Supermarkets, the sponsor of the Teacher of the Year program; School Board Chair Margaret Herlihy and other school board members; state Sen. Jonathan Courtney and state representatives Joan Nass, Andrea Boland, and John Tuttle, Jr.; other town officials, and members of Martin McKeon’s family.
McKeon will go on to compete in the selection of National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in April 2008 at the White House.
The Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Maine State Board of Education and generously funded by Hannaford Supermarkets.
David Connerty-Marin, Director of Communications, Maine Department of Education, 207-624-6880
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