TURNER — Turner Elementary School and the Winthrop Grade School have been nominated to be 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Maine Department of Education announced Thursday.

The education commissioner in each state nominates schools, which are then invited by the U.S. Secretary of Education to submit a formal application.

The Turner and Winthrop schools are the only two that qualified to be nominated this year, according to Education Department spokeswoman Samantha Warren.

The schools each have student achievement in the top 15 percent in Maine for both reading and math, according to the department.

Turner Elementary is a small school of about 200 students in grades 4-6.

Turner Principal Cynthia Alexander said “the whole staff is thrilled and excited. We couldn’t be more proud.”


Ditto for Henry Aliberti, superintendent of SAD 52, which includes Turner, Leeds and Greene.

“It really goes to the tireless efforts of the staff we have in this district on behalf of students and parents of our community,” Aliberti said. “They have a strong work ethic.”

Their work can often be overshadowed by news stories “that devalue public education,” Aliberti said. “We certainly have challenges with funding resources. So I’m pleased their efforts are being recognized.”

Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools each year in which students achieve high academic goals, including those that beat the odds. In the past 32 years, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has given awards to more than 7,000 schools, including nearly 50 in Maine.

Last fall, the Williams-Cone School in Topsham was named Maine’s 2013 National Blue Ribbon School.

The federal Department of Education will announce the winners in September.

— Bonnie Washuk

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