Auburn curriculum leader named best in state

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AUBURN — Shelly Mogul, curriculum director for the Auburn School Department, has been named the best curriculum leader in Maine.

The honor was given Monday by the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association at its conference at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mogul, 45, a third-generation Auburn educator, said she was surprised and “greatly honored.”

She gave credit to those she works with. “I couldn’t be the curriculum coordinator I am without them. I work with fabulous people. We collaborate together.”

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In her nomination letter recommending Mogul for the award, Auburn Superintendent Katy Grondin wrote that Mogul “is having a bold impact through her work” in Auburn’s school district of 3,600 students.

Mogul is responsible for overseeing the district’s accountability, school improvement, instruction and certification. She oversees certification and a number of programs with few resources.

“She is creative at mining resources, working with the high school principal to identify positions that might be repurposed as instructional coaches supporting the staff’s change efforts,” Grondin said.

“Because of the level of trust and respect teachers have for Shelly, they are comfortable reaching out to problem solve” seek advice and counsel, Grondin said.

Mogul didn’t know that she was nominated until the award was announced. In fact, it took some work from her colleagues to get her to the award luncheon.

The annual curriculum conference was going on Monday, but Mogul said she was too busy to attend because she’s working on the high school’s accreditation.

Edward Little High School math teacher Val Ackley encouraged her to go.

“I said ‘no,’” Mogul said.

Other colleagues pestered her to go, and again Mogul said she didn’t have time.

Finally, colleagues asked her to at least join them for lunch Monday.

Mogul agreed. “I said ‘Let’s go to Gritty’s.’”

They insisted she come to the Hilton Garden Inn and join other curriculum leaders for lunch. “I said I can’t go to the lunch, I didn’t register for the conference.”

They insisted, so she went.

Before she knew it, she was sitting through an awards banquet. Mogul said she thought to herself, ‘Now I have to sit through the awards ceremony. I was totally clueless.”

When her name was called, “I dropped my head, put my hand on my forehead. I turned around, my parents, my sister, my husband (Todd Mogul) were there,” along with Auburn administrators.

She said she was unable to speak after getting the award. “I was floored.”

Mogul said she’s especially proud of the Auburn School Department’s vision that education be recreated “so it meets the need of every single student in Auburn.” That vision guides all decisions, she said. “We use it all the time.”

Mogul graduated from Edward Little High School in 1987. After college, she taught at Fairview Elementary in 1992, worked one year in Sanford, returned to Auburn and taught high school biology. She was named curriculum director in 2007, and was one of the leaders in implementing iPads in Auburn schools.

Her grandmother used to teach at Chamberlain School, her mother at Fairview. Mogul said her second-grade daughter “informs us she’s going to be a teacher.”

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