Donna Munro

Position: Fourth Grade Teacher School: Union Elementary School

School District: Maine School Administrative District 40

City, State: Union, Maine

About the Nominee: Donna Munro was nominated by her principal, Christina Wotton.

Donna Munro understands the big picture of teaching and where Union Elementary School needs its students to go in life. She captures this through her integration of life lessons into the school's curriculum.

Mrs. Munro's principal, Christina Wotton, says that she has been most impressed with Mrs. Munro's integration of project-based learning into her classroom. Mrs. Munro has countless talents and passions, including art, music and a love of learning that crosses over into everything she does. She not only integrates reading and writing into her science and social studies classes, but she also teaches students about kindness, doing good things for others and making the world a better place. Mrs. Munro always extends her lessons to include things such as letters around the world, submitting poems to the newspaper, raising money for others in need, cleaning the playground or collecting food for the local food bank. These activities teach students about what is most important: compassion, kindness and helping others.

In addition to being a positive influence in the classroom, Mrs. Munro is a key player in her school's culture. She bakes a cake for each staff member's birthday or special occasion, and she helps make the school bulletin beautiful with her artistic ability. It’s often these little things that build a school culture, and Principal Wotton says she's very thankful for Mrs. Munro's part in making Union Elementary such a positive place. Mrs. Munro also volunteers for many wonderful opportunities, such as helping create the Next Gen Science standards for Maine, attending Empower trainings and going to a Smarter Balance training in North Carolina. She is willing and eager to learn new things and make the most for her classroom. In the 2015-2016 school year, she spent countless hours with her school's Educator Effectiveness Committee creating a new teacher evaluation handbook with a select group of teacher leaders.

Simply saying that Mrs. Munro is a valued member of the school community doesn't quite tell the story of how she touches so many lives. This past school year, she reached out to several authors, including Cynthia Lord, who visited our school because they were so touched by her dedication to her students. Mrs. Munro’s class had read "Rules," a book by Lord about a boy with autism and his challenges growing up. After reading the book, she took her class to a local library to meet with the author. Her creativity led the class down a trail of creating their own “rules." Lord was so inspired that she showed up to Union Elementary to see the students and Mrs. Munro again.

Mrs. Munro takes every opportunity to help extend her students' learning. She is the first one to dress up or volunteer her time to go above and beyond the classroom hours. Her LifeChanger profile picture was taken in New York City, where Mrs. Munro spent hours waiting in line to so she could be on a popular, nationwide morning show. Why? So she could show viewers that her students mean the world to her! Parents and students rave about the education their children get in Mrs. Munro's classroom. They know that the world is much more than a list of standards, and that Union Elementary's ultimate goal is for its students to make the world a better place. Mrs. Munro models how to do so with a humble attitude and the spirit of the Energizer bunny!

In addition to the classroom, Mrs. Munro’s life is dedicated to changing the world for her own children. After raising 3 children very successfully, she and her husband, Paul, decided to adopt two more children. They spend every chance they can making life better for children, either at school, teaching Sunday school, raising their own beautiful family or taking mission trips. She has done all of this while heroically facing her own health problems over the years. She is an inspiration to Union Elementary and the world!

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