LEWISTON — Tara Moore walked into her first interview after college expecting to hear about an ed tech opening in McMahon Elementary School’s behavior program.

Tara Moore (Photo courtesy Emmie Jones Photography)

“When I got there, they were like, ‘This is for the lead teacher of the room,'” said Moore, who immediately figured, “I’ll just get the interview experience, I’m never going to get the job.”

She did, and 18 years later, she’s still there.

Moore, 39, grew up in Greene and knew early she wanted to get into education.

“I come from a background where my grandmother worked at Farwell (school) for years in Title 1 and my mom is a music arts teacher at Longley, so it’s in my roots a little bit,” she said.

During a summer job in college at a home for children in state custody who couldn’t enter foster care because of behavior challenges, “I definitely fell into my own,” Moore said.

In her classroom, she works to get fifth- and sixth-graders up to grade level, teaching social skills and appropriate responses to difficult situations.

“I think the kids in our program kind of get lost a little bit and they need a voice and somebody to show them that school can be different, it doesn’t have to be awful,” she said. “They’ve had pretty bad experiences at their sending schools, so we kind of take them on in and show them a different way so they can be successful, hopefully, in their future.”

Moore, who lives in Auburn, keeps busy with kids out of work, too, with a toddler and young baby. For fun, they go on day trips, to a family camp and boating.

“I like the small city vibe,” Moore said. “I like hanging out with my friends or co-workers, going to Gritty’s or someplace after work on a Friday. You’re not traveling forever or have to wait in line forever to get to restaurants.”

She’s heard from friends “I could never do your job!” and “What? That happened in your classroom?”

“We never have a boring day, that’s for sure,” Moore said, laughing. But, “It’s pretty amazing when you can see what some compassion and care can do for kids.”

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