Todd named Knox County Teacher of the Year
Union — Union Elementary School teacher Kristi Todd has been named Knox County Teacher of the Year by the Maine Department of Education.
This year the Maine Department of Education expanded its Teacher of the Year program to include selections from 16 counties.
Todd, in her second year as kindergarten teacher at Union Elementary School, uses a combination of iPads, projectors, books and videos to align all her learning activities to the Common Core standard. She was honored at National Teacher Appreciation Day in Augusta May 6.
"Kristi is an amazing kindergarten teacher," said Union Elementary School Principal Christina Wotton. "Through several observations this year, I have been impressed with the high level of quality instruction that our students get."
Wotton explained how Todd has taken on a one-on-one iPad program, and utilized her planning methods to assure there is no time wasted and every student is engaged.
"When I saw that nominations were open, I knew instantly who I would nominate," said Wotton.
"It is a great honor to be awarded Knox County Teacher of the Year," said Todd in an email correspondence May 5.
She said she is reminded of Socrates who once remarked, “The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.”
"After 14 years in public education, I am more aware than ever of how much more I have to learn. I have spent my career striving to learn the best ways to make teaching and learning in my classroom more powerful," said Todd.
Todd explained she was not nominated for the award because she has all the answers, but because she is willing to take risks, learn from others, and be her own worst critic.
"The more I learn, the more I appreciate how much more there is to know," she said.
Todd believes every teacher’s success depends on others and at Union Elementary School, she feels blessed with a community that is invested in education and outstanding colleagues.
"I am thriving in a culture where teachers share their practice and visit colleagues to harvest strategies from peer observations," said Todd. "I feel blessed to be part of a school climate of continual improvement," she added.
Todd commended Wotton's leadership in continuously searching for the positives she notices in her teachers and their practices.
"Her affirmations of my teaching have inspired me to reach numerous professional goals this year," said Todd.
The expanded program and simplified nomination process resulted in a significant increase in the number of Maine teachers nominated in all regions of the state. With this ceremony, the County Teachers of the Year begin their year of service and recognition where they will serve as ambassadors for teachers, students and quality education.
One of these teachers will be selected as the 2015 Maine State Teacher of the Year.
These talented professionals have completed the first leg of what is considered one of the most rigorous Teacher of the Year application processes in the nation. The County Teachers of the Year will continue an intensive selection process, consisting of a classroom video, school visits by a distinguished review panel, professional portfolio review, oral presentations, and final interviews before the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year is selected.
The review panels include legacy Teachers of the Year, principals, Department of Education staff, members of professional organizations, and the business community.
"Kristi deserves this award. We are so proud of her," said Wotton.
"As a mother of two young children, I know that parents trust us with a great responsibility. I am proud to be part of a school that is striving for excellence," said Todd.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.