Melissa Robie

Position: Pre-K Teacher

School: China Primary School

School District: RSU 18

City, State: China, Maine

About the Nominee: Melissa Robie was nominated by her principal, Darlene Pietz. The motto at China Primary School is CARES; staff teach students to be Caring, Accepting, Responsible, to give their best Effort and to be Safe. Ms. Robie exemplifies this motto and is a great role model for all students. She is kind, caring and patient, and she has assuaged many fears and tears. She provides her school's youngest students with an extremely positive introduction to the "world of school."

Ms. Robie is loved by her students and their parents. Everyone at China Primary knows they will experience a pleasant encounter whenever they speak with her. She has been a very active member of a three person committee at her school called the HR/PR (human relations/public relations) committee. She also attends PTO meetings, even though she lives out of town. Ms. Robie volunteers her time to coordinate activities such as the annual community Fun Run, family movie nights and the annual PTO craft fair. She can also be seen at student musicals supporting students and staff. Her humble dedication to China Primary students, staff and the community leaves a "mark" on all, which resembles a happy face!

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Dylan Harry

Position: Field Science Teacher

School: Fryeburg Academy

School District: Private

City, State: Fryeburg , Maine

About the Nominee: Dylan Harry was nominated by a student, Zac Mercauto. Mr. Harry is an excellent teacher who welcomed Zac into the Fryeburg Academy community. Zac states that he probably wouldn't be where he is this year without Mr. Harry's help.

Mr. Harry helps students from all over the world. He's a LifeChanger because of the contributions he makes to create such a great community of students and teachers. He helps new students and tries to connect with them on a personal level, which makes his help around the school a huge asset.

Mr. Harry is Zac's favorite teacher because he has changed not only his life, but the lives of other students in so many different ways.

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Valerie Glueck

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher

School: Williams Elementary School

School District: RSU 18

City, State: Oakland, Maine

About the Nominee: Valerie Glueck was nominated by her principal, Kathy Harris-Smedberg. Ms. Glueck is the consummate professional. Any student can be placed in her class and she will warmly welcome, guide, nurture and challenge them based on their demonstrated abilities. She actively engages students by providing a wide range of modes and modalities, while also pushing them to achieve more than they thought possible. Ms. Glueck has worked with students who have faced challenges in the past, but she has always found success with them. The students love being her class, despite knowing that they will work hard and be stretched. Parents appreciate her candor and honesty, knowing that their children have a strong advocate. Ms. Glueck is also a teacher leader at Williams Elementary, helping her peers become stronger teachers. She participates in activities outside of class which aid students, including the PTA, volunteering at student events and after school activities. Ms. Glueck loves children, and it shows in her words and actions. She is truly an advocate for all children and gives herself tirelessly to help them succeed!

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David Winski

Position: Science Teacher

School: Edmunds Consolidated School

School District: Education in the Unorganized Territories

City, State: Edmunds Township, Maine

About the Nominee: David Winski was nominated by his principal, Trudy Newcomb. Mr. Winski is an exceptional science teacher. His love for science leads him to create amazing STEM-based learning experiences for his students. He teaches math and science to all students in grades 5-8, and they love his class. For such a small school (60 students in grades Pre-K through grade 8), Edmunds Consolidated has an amazing science program! Mr. Winski has sought out grants and financial support to provide a first rate education for his students. His curriculum is focused around inquiry-based instruction, where students are posed with a question/challenge, given some very basic foundational knowledge and asked to create, experiment, and challenge their own thinking to find a solution.

Mr. Winski's science room is very neat, except when students are working! He allows his students to immerse themselves in creating solutions. Sometimes, this means his room gets messy, but his lessons are so much fun! In his class, students learn typical science content, such as physics, the natural world and basic chemistry. They are also able to experiment, however, using state-of-the art technology that includes computers, building robotics, programming and even 3D printing! His willingness to seek out these resources for students and his knowledge of good teaching make him an exceptional teacher. Mr. Winski is certainly changing the lives of Edmund Consolidated students and the way they think about science. He is giving the students of this small rural community the opportunity to spark an interest in areas that they might not have even known existed previously. Later, this may lead students to a career that they might not have even thought of. He is literally changing the lives of his students by opening up their thinking beyond the walls of their classrooms. Mr. Winski takes his students past the remoteness of their communities and gives their imaginations the fuel to makes their dreams reality.

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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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