Allie Rimkunas teaches K-5 art at Great Falls Elementary School.

GORHAM — Two art teachers in the Gorham School District will be honored at a ceremony next week by the Maine Art Education Association.

Amy Cousins of Gorham Middle School has been named the association’s Art Teacher of the Year and Allie Rimkunas of Great Falls Elementary School is Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. They will receive awards on Saturday, April 6, at an association celebration at Belfast High School.

Gorham principals heaped praise on their standout art teachers.

“Amy is a special teacher, very special,” said Robert Riley, Gorham Middle School principal. “She challenges kids to do some creative thinking.”

Great Falls Principal Becky Fortier said, “I am honored to have Allie on staff as she brings to Great Falls a solid training in pedagogical methods and art history, along with great energy and enthusiasm.”


Cousins has taught 20 years in Gorham, starting first at the former Shaw Jr. High School before the middle school opened. She has fond memories of  her first school. “I miss my old oak chalk board,” she said.

She is one of two middle school art instructors and she teaches 270 students in seventh and eighth grades. She lauded her students as “extremely” creative. “I love their energy,” she said.

She challenges her students to be creative, solve problems and be persistent. She said today’s bosses want employees to think out of the box. “It starts here,” she said.

Some of her former art students have careers in architecture, advertising, web design and hair design.

Cousins, who was named the association’s Middle School Art Teacher of the Year  in 2018, also teaches workshops at Maine College of Art.

“I love teaching. I can’t imagine getting out of it,”  said.


Rimkunas has taught 14 years and is in her eighth year at Great Falls. She previously taught art at Narragansett Elementary School in Gorham where she had once been an ed tech.

She emphasized the importance of art in history. “We remember our culture through art,” she said.

Rimkunas cited retired Westbrook and Gorham educator Frances Boothby, 103, of Westbrook as her role model. “I’d like to be like her when I grow up,” Rimkunas said.

At Great Falls School, Rimkunas teaches kindergarten through grade 5. Her art curriculum includes drawing, painting, print making, mixed media and sculpture. She said art can help children learn different ways. “I see kids struggle in classes but fly in arts,” she said.

The school’s children have access to a nature trail and she likes to get her students outdoors. “Nature is the greatest inspiration for me,” Rimkunas said.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 780-9089 or email

Amy Cousins teaches art to seventh- and eighth-graders at Gorham Middle School.

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