Washington Academy Head of School, Judson McBrine, proudly announces WA science teacher, Mrs. Colleen Maker, has been selected as the 2023 Washington County Teacher of the Year by the Maine Department of Education (MDOE). Mrs. Maker has inspired and mentored countless WA science students during her four years at WA. Her nineteen years of educational experience in the field are impressive; however, her outstanding relationship-building skills and desire to build a strong community of student collaborators make her teaching style dynamic and impactful.
Her infectious can-do attitude and smile make her classroom and field work seem effortless. For Mrs. Maker, it is all about her partnerships. Perhaps, her most impactful partnership is the WA Community Garden which she maintains with students and community organizations including, Healthy Acadia, Master Gardeners of Maine, and the Machias Food Pantry. The garden addresses food insecurity in the Machias community, providing over a thousand pounds of produce every season to local food pantries. Mrs. Maker is also a member of the Maine Master Gardener Volunteer Program, the Algae Academy, the Downeast Institute, the Coastal Science Academy, the University of Maine 4-H Cooperative Extension, and the Downeast Salmon Federation Research Center salmon stocking program. Science and interacting with it to make a difference in the community is Mrs. Maker’s passion!
Her teaching style is hands-on, and her students are involved in experiential learning in her biology, honors biology, and marine biology classes. Her community partnerships are shared in the classroom as opportunities to demonstrate the practical application of the content curriculum taught in the classroom. Mrs. Maker’s mentorship continues after the school day through her advisement of sustainability, science clubs, and the WA student council. This fall, sustainability club members traveled to the Crossroads Farm in Jonesport with Healthy Acadia to learn the importance of apple gleaning and maximizing the harvest to minimize food waste.
Mrs. Maker belongs to eight educational committees and memberships outside of Washington Academy, including the BLOOM Educators Program, Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program, Gulf of Maine Research Institute LabVentures Summer Teacher Institute, Washington County Regional Teacher Community Member, Washington County Regional Support Team Mentor, Professional Mentorship for Pre-Service Teacher Internship, and a Maine Education Association Member. She credits her selection as the county teacher of the year to the fantastic support of her Washington Academy administration, colleagues, and community partnerships. Mrs. Maker remarks, my work is easy because of all the great people and organizational relationships surrounding me!”
Every year, the Maine Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award is given to an educator for each Maine county. Mrs. Maker is one of sixteen teachers who have been selected who represent the excellence of all Maine educators and who are advocates of the teaching profession, education, and students. WA Head of School Judson McBrine attended the award ceremony in Augusta on Thursday, May 11, and remarked, “I was thrilled to be at the State House to celebrate and honor Mrs. Maker as she received this well-deserved recognition. She was selected as one of the County Teachers of the Year from a state pool of five hundred nominees. We all know Mrs. Maker to be an amazing educator; it’s great to see others recognize her with this award.” Mrs. Maker continues in the MDOE 2023 Teacher of the Year selection process, ending in October 2023 with the Mane State Teacher of the Year selection.