UMaine, UMaine Machias alumni among Maine Teacher of the Year finalists

Edith Berger, the 2023 Lincoln County Teacher of the Year and a two-time University of Maine alumna, and Colleen Maker,  2023 Washington County Teacher of the Year and University of Maine at Machias alumna, have been named finalists for 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Berger is a sixth-grade writing and social studies teacher at Miller School in Waldoboro, part of the RSU 40 school district. She was a 2013 Maine Writing Project fellow and earned both a graduate certificate as a teacher-consultant in writing and a Master of Education in literacy education from UMaine in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The Maine Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, is housed at the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. Berger also has a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in New York.

“Being a part of the Maine County and State Teachers of the Year program is an opportunity to lift the voices and amplify the experiences of all teachers in Maine and beyond,” Berger said in a Maine Department of Education press release announcing the Teacher of the Year finalists. “My school, administration, colleagues, and district have supported me in my growth as a teacher leader and I owe the same to others in education no matter where they teach.”

Maker teaches biology and marine biology at Washington Academy in East Machias. She has been teaching for 19 years, the last four at Washington Academy. She was the 2022 recipient of the University of Maine Volunteer Pen Award for her dedication to the Washington Academy Community Garden, which donates all produce to the Machias Food Pantry. 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. She incorporates these real-world partnerships into her curriculum to encourage students to be lifelong learners, productive community members and responsible stewards of their environment. 

“It’s an honor to represent Washington Academy and Washington County in the Maine Teacher of the Year Program, and I’m thankful to my students, colleagues, administrators, community partners, family, and husband, Joshua, for fueling and nurturing my passion and love for teaching,” Maker said in the Maine DOE press release. “Being part of a program that celebrates teachers across Maine is truly exciting, especially in a state where incredible things are unfolding in our classrooms and communities.”

The state Teacher of the Year program is a partnership between Maine DOE, Educate Maine, the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association and the Maine State Board of Education.

Cumberland County Teacher of the Year Joshua Chard of East End Community School in Portland and Oxford County Teacher of the Year Lacey Todd of Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico are the other finalists. 

The 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year will be announced in October.