CK Burns teacher Danielle Pelletier is a semi-finalist for Maine Teacher of the Year. Contribute / Maine DOE

Eight Maine teachers were recently announced as the state semifinalists for the 2025 Maine Teacher of the Year, including one from Saco.

These inspiring educators, members of the 2024 County Teacher of the Year cohort, embody the dedication, innovation, and leadership synonymous with Maine’s exceptional classroom teachers, according to a Maine Department of Education press release. As ambassadors for their students, colleagues, and school communities, their selection acknowledges their excellence in teaching and celebrates the collective achievements and commitment of the entire teaching profession in Maine.

One of the semi-finalists is Danielle Pelletier, who teaches at CK Burns School in Saco, and is the 2024 York County Teacher of the Year.

Other semifinalists include: Kristel Anuszewski, Windsor Elementary School, 2024 Kennebec County Teacher of the Year; Shilo Burnham, East Belfast School, 2024 Waldo County Teacher of the Year; Ally Gilbert, Mt. Ararat High School, 2024 Sagadahoc County Teacher of the Year; Becky Hallowell, Wiscasset Elementary School, 2024 Lincoln County Teacher of the Year; Ryan Lowell, Ellsworth High School, 2024 Hancock County Teacher of the Year; Katie Strait, Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, 2024 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year; and Emilie Throckmorton, Bangor High School, 2024 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

“Congratulations to all the semifinalists on this well-deserved recognition,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “I’m so inspired by the extraordinary work you do each and every day on behalf of your students, schools, and communities. Thank you for stepping up to represent Maine teachers as County Teachers of the Year and now as Teacher of the Year Semifinalists.”

“We are thrilled to recognize these outstanding educators who exemplify the passion and dedication that define Maine’s teaching community,” said Educate Maine Executive Director Jason Judd. “Their commitment to student success and innovation in the classroom is truly commendable. We look forward to the next phases of the selection process and the announcement of the 2025 Maine Teacher of the Year.”


The selection process for the Maine Teacher of the Year Program is rigorous and reflective, designed by educators to offer candidates an opportunity to reflect on their instructional practice, according to a DOE press release. Each educator was nominated in January by a member of their community. They first participated in the County Selection Process, where a distinguished panel of teachers, principals, and business community members selected them as a County Teacher of the Year from among hundreds of nominees. In May, they embarked on the state Teacher of the Year process, showcasing their instructional practices through a classroom video and written reflection.

In the next phase of the selection process, the semifinalists will deliver keynote speeches, submit professional portfolios, and participate in an expert panel discussion on educational equity, teacher leadership, and education policy. The state finalists will be announced in September, and the 2025 Maine Teacher of the Year will be revealed in October. The 2025 Maine Teacher of the Year will serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession and represent Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine through a unique partnership with the Maine Department of Education with support from the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA) and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, the Silvernail Family, and Unum.

For more information about the Maine County Teacher of the Year Program and to see a list of County Teachers of the Year, and Maine Teachers of the Year, visit

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