Brenda Poulin

Position: Student Support Center Lead School: Maine Academy of Natural Sciences

School District: Maine Academy of Natural Sciences

City, State: Hinckley, Maine

About the Nominee: Brenda Poulin was nominated by her principal, Tonya Arnold.

Brenda Poulin cares deeply about every student at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) and about the organization. She also serves as a caregiver to staff. Many describe her as the heart and soul of the MeANS community. It would take volumes to go into enough detail to sufficiently demonstrate how she changes lives, but here are a few ways:

Ms. Poulin is extremely skilled in counseling students through tough situations. People open up to her because she has a natural ability to truly empathize with students, yet she knows exactly when to straight up tell them how it is and what needs to be done. Ms. Poulin is also extremely positive; she praises and congratulates as vehemently as she holds students accountable for reflecting on their own actions and the impact on others. Her natural ability to bring people together is critical to the networks of support she creates to get students through difficult academic, behavioral, social or family situations.

She stays involved with and connected to those who need her by attending every community or sporting event where students participate, visiting homes, assisting with applications for services, helping students find new clothes for a special event and helping with hygiene, make up or hair care advice. Ms. Poulin also connects students with resources or community partnerships that encourage them to put time and energy into a positive hobby, community service or career exploration rather than risk-taking behaviors. She has helped students with significant disabilities feel loved and accepted by the whole community. Students who have faced homelessness have benefited from her guidance and assistance with connecting them to resources. She has been a critical confidant who has helped students through major life-changing tragedies. In every interaction, Ms. Poulin has a way of making the student or person feel cared for, valued and important within the community. Her positive character develops hope for a bright future in everyone she counsels!

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