I read with great joy your front-page story Jan. 7 about Nancie Atwell’s nomination to win the Global Teacher Prize (“Maine educator chosen as finalist for $1 million global prize”). She is a great writer, reader, thinker and educator. She is an inspiration, and it’s hard to imagine anyone more deserving of the $1 million prize.

My family owes her a huge debt of gratitude. All four of our children attended the Center for Teaching and Learning, and as they’ve grown up, they have continued to benefit from the strong foundations they got there.

Those same four children all attended North Yarmouth Academy, as have many other Center for Teaching and Learning students, and I can assure you that NYA is not a school “that only rich kids could attend,” as you imply in the article. In fact, nearly 50 percent of the students at NYA receive some form of financial aid.

The friends we’ve made through both schools are all over the economic, social and geographic maps. Really, I don’t think there is a school left in America that wants to be a school that only rich kids can attend.

We are very fortunate in Maine to have two such fantastic schools as the Center for Teaching and Learning and North Yarmouth Academy, and the opportunities they give our children deserve to be recognized and celebrated worldwide. Congratulations to Nancie! She’s a winner, no matter what happens.

Walter Briggs


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