Maine’s 2022 county teachers of the year include educators from Portland, Kennebunk and Lewiston. The 16 county teachers of the year were announced by the Maine Department of Education and the nonprofit Educate Maine on Thursday afternoon.

Matthew Bernstein, a humanities teacher at Portland’s Casco Bay High School is the Cumberland County teacher of the year. Melissa Luetje, who teaches science at Kennebunk High School, is the York county teacher of the year. Kelsey Boucher, an art teacher at Robert V. Connors Elementary in Lewiston, is the Androscoggin County teacher of the year.

The teachers are now in the running for the state teacher of the year award, an honor given annually to a Maine teacher with the goal of elevating the voices and work of the state’s educators.

Bernstein has been teaching at Casco Bay High School for eight years. Prior to joining Casco Bay, he taught history in Rhode Island.

Hundreds of teachers are nominated to be county teachers of the year annually by community members, including students, fellow teachers and administrators.

Bernstein was nominated by a former student, Yusur Jasim, who graduated from Casco Bay in 2021. Jasim, who uses they/them pronouns, said Bernstein helped support them as an English language learner and inspired them to want to become a teacher.


“As a new English learner, I struggled a great amount in classes, and if it wasn’t for Mr. Bernstein’s support, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Jasim said in a statement released by the school district. “I lost count of the number of times I went to him for help. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t the only one. Many of my classmates went to him for help, even when they struggled with classes other than his.”

Bernstein felt humbled and honored to be the 2022 Cumberland County teacher of the year and is grateful for everyone in the school community who has supported him over the years. “I am especially grateful for all the amazing students I have had the privilege to work with,” he said. “They inspire me every day and give me the gift of having the best job in the world.”

Leutje, who has been teaching for 19 years, has a master’s of science degree in teaching and learning and was nominated by a colleague.

Boucher, a nine-year teaching veteran, was nominated by Lewiston’s chief academic officer.

“The Maine teacher of the year program is more than just a recognition program,” said Jason Judd, the executive director of Educate Maine. “The program is designed to develop leadership and advocacy skills and elevate teachers as the experts they are in the profession.”

Finalists for the state teacher of the year will be announced in the summer, and the winner will be named in the fall.

Comments are not available on this story.