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Nashua, Amherst teachers semifinalists for NH Teacher of the Year

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | Jun 24, 2020

Danielle Boutin, ELL teacher, Ledge Street School, Nashua, semifinalist for NH Teacher of the Year 2021

CONCORD – A teacher of English language learners at Nashua’s Ledge Street Elementary School and a humanities teacher at Amherst Middle School have been named semi-finalists for the 2021 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year award, the state Department of Education has announced.

Danielle Boutin, the Nashua ELL teacher, and Benjamin Rodon from Amherst Middle School are among 11 semi-finalists recently selected from a field of 30 nominees, education officials said.

“The Teacher of the Year selection committee has had a hard time narrowing down a field of incredible candidates to these semi-finalists,” state DOE deputy commissioner Christine Brennan said.

“And our job picking the recipient will be even harder,” she added.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the selection process was a little different this year. In lieu of “site visits” this spring, the candidates were asked to submit videos highlighting how they made the shift to remote instruction.

Going forward, members of the selection committee will next judge Boutin, Rodon and the other 9 semi-finalists on their public speaking skills. They will each answer the question, “What is your platform, and how can you use that to elevate the teaching profession?”

The committee will then select finalists, whose schools committee members will visit in September, assuming schools are open and back in session.

The winner will be chosen in October, officials said, and will represent New Hampshire in the National Teacher of the Year program.

The state DOE will honor New Hampshire’s semi-finalists and finalists at its annual Celebrating Leadership in Education Awards program.

According to the DOE, “the Teacher of the Year selection process begins at the nomination level where teachers may be nominated by peers, administrators, parents, students or community members as being exceptional.”

The nominees “were nominated for their exemplary service in education, dedication to their students and commitment to improving education,” according to the DOE.

“The Teacher of the Year Program does not attempt to single out any individual as the best teacher in New Hampshire, but rather honors one teacher who represents all the excellent teachers in our state.”

The other 9 semi-finalists follow.

* Steven Juster, English, Londonderry High School

* Tina Sturdivant, biology, Pinkerton Academy, Derry

* Alyssa Balboni, third-fourth grade, Parker-Varney school, Manchester

* Sarah Carlson, third grade, Plymouth Elementary School

* Maryanne Cullinan, enrichment (ELP), Great Brook Middle School, Antrim

* Christina Duffy, social studies, Hampton Academy

* Lauren Elliott, first grade, Winchester School

*Jay Keough, criminal justice, R. W. Creteau Regional Technology Center at Spaulding High School, Rochester

* Kathleen McCaffrey-Pomerleau, second grade, Main Street School, Exeter.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

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