BLUE HILL — Nell Herrmann, middle school science teacher at Blue Hill Consolidated School, was announced as Hancock County’s Teacher of the Year Thursday in Augusta.
Herrmann was one of 15 teachers honored at the Maine State Capitol in the Hall of Flags. A ceremony was held there Thursday afternoon to announce the 2019 Maine County Teachers of the Year.
The teachers in the group are finalists for Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine.
Herrmann has taught at BHCS since 2013. She also taught science at the school between 2000 and 2002.
The Blue Hill resident said she had never intended to become a teacher.
Herrmann said she fell in love with field work during college and had planned to become a wildlife biologist.
“I was on track to be a scientist and had started a PhD program at Penn State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science,” Herrmann said. “During that time, I was invited to be a guest speaker in a high school environmental science class. I spoke to the kids about research I was doing at that time involving how salamanders were affected by various forestry practices.
“My day as a guest speaker was so much fun, I had a sort of epiphany: I wanted to teach science to kids rather than being a scientist, which I was finding increasingly isolating,” said Herrmann.
Herrmann now joins 14 other educators, one from each of Maine’s counties except for Lincoln, in competing for Maine’s Teacher of the Year.
Lincoln County would have been included but the county did not have a nominee who both met the criteria and completed the application process, according to the Maine Department of Education.
Commissioner of Education Pender Makin stated in a press release that the Teacher of the Year program “offers all of us the opportunity to celebrate the phenomenal work that is being accomplished every day in Maine’s public schools.
“Each of the county teachers of the year exemplifies a deep commitment to Maine’s students and a belief in the power of education to create positive and lasting change. They bring their compassion, creativity and innovation to the art and science of teaching, amplifying the dreams and futures of their students,” Makin stated in a press release.
“In highlighting the accomplishments of these 15 educators, we are also honoring all of Maine’s teachers and the outstanding talents and dedication they bring to their classrooms and communities,” the commissioner stated.
The educators were each nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education, and dedication to their students, according to the Department of Education. “They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities.”
The Teachers of the Year for each county will continue to participate in the Teacher of the Year selection process. That includes submitting a video showing their classroom instruction.
The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists who will begin working on their professional portfolio, a component of the National Teacher of the Year process.
After the portfolio review and presentations to a select panel, the field is narrowed to three finalists.
In October, the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected after a school site visit and final interview.
The Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education.
The program is administered by “Educate Maine,” which is a business-led organization working to ensure Maine’s students and workers are the best educated and highly skilled in the world.
The Washington County teacher of the year is Jeana Carver, a teacher at Jonesport Elementary School.