A ninth-grade social studies teacher at Casco Bay High School in Portland is one of four finalists for 2023 Maine teacher of the year.

Matt Bernstein joins teachers from Aroostook, Oxford and Penobscot counties as finalists for the honor. The Maine teacher of the year will be named in October and will serve as an advocate for teaching, Maine schools and students, and represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Matthew Bernstein Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Education

Bernstein said he is “humbled and grateful for this recognition” and the opportunity to work as a teacher.

He has a bachelor’s degree in history, with a concentration on European history, from Bowdoin College and is 2022’s Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. He is a member of the Portland Public Schools Social Studies Vertical Content Team, which is working to develop a Wabanaki Studies curriculum, and was recently named a 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, taking part in a seminar called “Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture.” Outside the classroom, he plays or coaches soccer and basketball.

The other finalists are Heather Anderson of Caribou Community School in Caribou, the 2022 Aroostook County teacher of the year; Ashley Bryant of Sacopee Valley Middle School in Hiram, the 2022 Oxford County teacher of the year;  and Emily Albee of Hampden Academy in Hampden, the 2022 Penobscot County teacher of the year.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these four Teacher of the Year state finalists for representing the best qualities of Maine’s amazing educators,” Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin said. “They exude optimism for public education, a commitment to their profession and to building relationships across their communities and the energy and drive to make education wonderful for all their students and for all students in Maine.”

The candidates for teacher of the year were nominated by a member of their community and then selected by a panel of teachers, principals and members of the business community

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