Lewiston Adult Ed teacher Irina Petranek.

ORONO — A Lewiston educator with firsthand knowledge of the challenges of learning a new language has won the Teacher of the Year Award from the Maine Adult Education Association.

Irina Petranek received the honor on June 20 during the association annual conference at the University of Maine at Orono. Lewiston Adult Education Director Bill Grant presented the award to Petranek at a ceremony held at Donald P. Corbett Hall.

Petranek, who teaches English as a Second Language, joined Lewiston Adult Education in 2011.

She was born in Dzhambul, Kazakhstan, and is a graduate of Lipetsk State Pedagogical University in Lipetsk, Russia. Petranek moved to the United States in 2002.

Lewiston Adult Learning Center Coordinator Laurie Champagne noted that Petranek, who speaks English, French and Russian, tries to combine her lessons with hands-on activities. This includes cooking with her students and making sure everyone uses the proper English terms for measurements.

Petranek teaches eight different classes a year at Lewiston Adult Education and may have as many as 80 students, Champagne said. She has also taught cooking and a Russian language class for Lewiston Adult Education enrichment classes.

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