JAY — Rob Taylor, a teacher at Spruce Mountain Middle’High School, was recognized as Franklin County Teacher of the Year during a ceremony May 9 in the Hall of Flags at the Maine State Capitol

Commissioner of Education Pender Makin said, “The Maine 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.  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.”

Franklin County 2019 Teacher of the Year Rob Taylor, right, with Spruce Mountain Middle School student Lily Bailey, who nominated him for the award. Submitted photo

Taylor is one of 15 teachers in the running for Maine Teacher of the Year.

He was nominated by eighth-grade student Lily Bailey. She has been in Taylor’s gifted and talented math and science classes for the last three years and participated in FIRST LEGO League, for which he is the advisor.

“Mr. Taylor has always been my favorite teacher. This year I figured I would nominate him,” she said.  Lily nominated Taylor in March.

She knew about the program because her father, Jeff Bailey a teacher in Mountain Valley, was nominated five years ago.

“I had to write a paragraph on how Mr. Taylor was a good teacher, tell what he does in our district.

Lily has a neuromuscular condition that affects her mobility.  “I get tired easily so Mr. Taylor modifies programs for me,” she said.

“I like that he accommodates for my needs, the hands-on learning he uses,” she said.

On May 12 Taylor said he didn’t know at first who had who nominated him.

“I was absolutely tickled. Lily’s just a wonderful kid. I was proud to honor her nomination and give it a shot,” he said.

Taylor said the process has been a lot of work and there will be more.

“It’s a lot of reflective practice. I’m enjoying it, really finding it to have a positive impact on my teaching” he said.

Taylor had to write papers and submit recommendations to get to the county award.

“Each of us has to submit an eight- to 10-minute uncut video of us teaching. They want it to be a very realistic representation of what our classrooms are like.

“Then you have to write a reflection on what you did and why, what was good and bad, analyze the lesson.

“They want to see how you interact with the kids. That’s due this month,” he said.

Taylor said he has put a lot of work in on it. Kymberly Bryant is helping with the video. He has a plan.

“The videos will cut the field to eight. If I go on to the next level, I’ll have to give an oral presentation this summer, present my platform.

“Regardless of whether I make it or not, there is an expectation that you’ll have a platform, identify an issue, program or something in education to support.

“The idea is to use the recognition of being the county TOY to make a difference in education,” he said.

Taylor is still thinking about it. As of now, he is thinking of expanding the reach of the Envirothon program in Maine.

“It’s a great program. It teaches kids environmental science in their backyard. It’s real world and helps prepares our selectmen, planning board members and other future leaders.

“I would love to see Envirothon get into every school in Maine. I’ve already met with the IT folks at school to create a website that teachers and students would have access to learn more about our natural resources,” he said.

From the platform presentations, three finalists will be selected. Those three must prepare a portfolio using specifics for the national TOY competition.

“That’s another big chunk of work,” Taylor said.

He spent Wednesday and Thursday morning last week in meetings and training. He got to meet the other county TOY and former county and state TOYs.

“They’re amazing people.

“I have to say one of the best teachers I know is my wife, Julie Taylor. She is incredible with kids in the classroom, highly professional. She is on the evaluation committee working with the math curriculum, involved with the local and state teachers’ associations.

“I really wouldn’t be anywhere without her. She’s also a great mom to our kids. Erik and Emily are a testament to that,” Taylor said.

He said it is great to teach in Regional School Unit 73.

“It has a great faculty. The board and administration have been really supportive of lots of my crazy ideas,” Taylor said.

 

 

 

 

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