PORTLAND, Maine — Sunday marks the first day of #LoveTeaching week and the second week of NEWS CENTER Maine showing its appreciation for Maine's educators and staff.
Who better to kick it off with than Maine's Teacher of the Year, Cindy Soule.
The Maine Department of Education said Soule has an innate ability to create a learning community that disrupts the opportunity gap. For 20 of her 21 years of teaching, she has been committed to one of Maine’s most diverse schools, the Gerald E. Talbot Community School (formerly Riverton Elementary School) in Portland.
"We’re not used to being celebrated and being recognized for the work that we are all doing," Soule said. "So, I felt incredibly proud of my school and being able to represent the work that all the teachers here do."
That work looks very different due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fourth-grade teacher has spent the last year teaching virtually and in the classroom. Soule said it has been an adjustment, but it hasn't stopped her from bringing her high-energy approach to the classroom.
"We will all remember this year and this time in history and for me, I’ll look back and have this amazing experience to say, 'Wow, it was the craziest of times', 'Wow, I was Maine's teacher of the year through that,'" Soule said.
Soule fosters a dynamic learning environment that inspires curiosity and citizenship in her students. A lifelong resident of Maine, she developed an appreciation for the natural world that is evident in her teaching. She grounds learning in real-world contexts and encourages students to construct scientific understanding through observation, questioning, and collaborative thinking. Through inquiry and discourse, Soule empowers students to see themselves as meaningful contributors to their community. This work is recognized by her Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching candidacy.