Three Maine teachers have been announced as finalists for the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year program, the Maine Department of Education announced Tuesday.

The finalists are Paige Fournier, a special education teacher at Freeport Middle School; Kelsey Stoyanova, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden; and Hillary Hoyt, a third-grade teacher at Leroy H. Smith School in Winterport.

Paige Fournier Photo courtesy Maine Department of Education

The three were chosen from among 16 County Teachers of the Year. The program is a project of the department and is administered by the group Educate Maine with the aim of honoring and elevating the voices of public school educators. The Teacher of the Year is typically announced in October.

“All 16 County Teachers of the Year exemplify the amazing dedication and creative spirit of Maine’s educators,” Commissioner of Education Pender Makin said. “These finalists have been selected for their passion, vision and advocacy for education and for Maine students, and each will be an outstanding ambassador on behalf of all educators in our state.”

Fournier began volunteering in special education classrooms as a high school student and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from C.W. Post – Long Island University and a master’s degree and doctorate from New England College, according to a Daprtment of Education news release. She is co-chair of the Regional School Unit 5 Wellness Committee as well as a 2012 Maine Teacher of the Year semifinalist.

Stoyanova has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maine and is working toward her educational specialist degree in educational leadership. As an advocate for student involvement in curriculum creation, she became the Regional School Unit 22 middle level language arts curriculum leader and also serves on her district’s equity in education committee.

Hoyt has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and teaches math, reading, writing, social studies and science. Her goal is to excite learners and show them how learning can open new horizons through projects such as a classroom Underwater Day or the creation of a rehabilitation center for animals through project-based learning.

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