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USM grad Cindy Soule named 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year

For the second consecutive year, Maine’s Teacher of the Year is a University of Southern Maine graduate.

The Maine Department of Education and EducateMaine announced today that USM Master’s in Special Education graduate Cindy Soule '00G has been awarded the state’s top teaching honor. A 4th-grade teacher at Portland’s Gerald E. Talbot Community School, Soule was named 2020 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year and was among 300 nominees for the 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year award.

2021 Maine Teacher of the Year Cindy Soule '00G is now in the running for National Teacher of the Year.

2020 Maine Teacher of the Year and USM Master's in Literacy Education graduate Heather Whitaker praised Soule for her 20 years of dedication to Talbot School students and their families.

“She is a lifelong learner who is committed to the craft of teaching and building strong relationships with her students, colleagues, and community,” said Whitaker, who served on the Teacher of the Year Review Panel. “We will learn so much from her passion for teaching inquiry-based science and literacy!”

In its announcement, the Maine Department of Education said Soule is a highly engaging educator who “grounds learning in real-world contexts and encourages students to construct scientific understanding through observation, questioning, and collaborative thinking.”

Soule, who is also a candidate for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, partners with several community organizations in her teaching, including Side X Side, Maine Audubon, and the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. At Talbot Community School, she serves on the Leadership Team, Building Steering Committee, Response to Intervention Team, and Science Teams. On behalf of students, Soule is a recipient of Portland Education Foundation, TD Banknorth, and DonorsChoose grants.

The Teacher of the Year Program is a year-long process that involves educator portfolio and resume submissions, interviews, oral presentations, and classroom visits made by a selection panel composed of State Board of Education members, school administrators, Maine Department of Education staff, former Teachers of the Year, and other Maine business partners.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led advocacy organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine State Board of Education.

See the Portland Press Herald story on Soule's award.