Meet The Teacher Leaders
Scarborough Middle School
8th Grade Spanish
I have had the esteemed pleasure of working with a great group of teachers at Scarborough Middle for the last 3-years. Before that I spent 10 years teaching high school at South Portland, Hyde, and Biddeford High Schools. I became a Teacher Leader in the summer of 2013. I wanted to join this amazing group of teachers when I attended the inaugural workshop in the winter of 2013. I could see the passion and drive to move World Language education in a meaningful way that allows all students to be able to communicate with confidence and respect while honoring the varying abilities of language acquisition. I myself am a lifelong learner and while I have been with this group a short 3 years I have learned a lot about instruction and assessment and my students are benefiting tremendously because of this.
My goal is to be able to help other teachers improve their instruction and assessment so that their students are more confident, able, and global communicators. ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
Falmouth Middle School
French & Spanish
Bonjour! ¡Hola! My name is Michelle Fournier and I teach French and Spanish at Falmouth Middle School. I previously taught at Westbrook High School, where I helped lead my department toward a proficiency-based curriculum.
I have been a Teacher Leader since the first Summer Institute. It came at a perfect time in my career, when I was ready to make the leap from a traditional, grammar-based curriculum to a communicative, real-world, and more culturally rich model. The TL program gave me the tools with which to do so effectively, and is the best professional development I have ever received. The Summer Institutes have made me a better teacher, and completely transformed the way I see instruction, assessment, and curriculum design. As an added plus, I have made connections with a group of truly incredible, dedicated, and gifted educators from whom I learn and who I am honored to consider my friends. I am so grateful to be a part of this initiative and to be able to share what I have learned with other teachers.
Caribou High School
I first became involved with the World Languages in Maine Initiative in 2013 when I attended the Summer Institute in Farmington as a participant. I learned concepts about teaching world languages that challenged my traditional classroom approach, which gave me much food for thought. I again attended the Institute in the summer of 2015, this time in the role of new teacher leader. What I heard and learned continued to intrigue me, and I felt that this new approach to delivering world languages curricula was quite radical, dare I say revolutionary, in that it put aside the workings of language, that is to say stressing grammar, vocabulary, and verb forms, and focused rather on using the language in authentic situations. I found this approach extremely logical. I subsequently tried this method of teaching world languages in my own classroom, and quickly saw that it was much more effective in leading students to become communicative, which should be the main goal of teaching and studying a world language.
Bangor High School
¡Hola! My name is Johanna Bridges, I am from Colombia, and I teach Spanish at Bangor High School.
I became a teacher leader the Summer of 2013 after I attended a Standards Based Teaching and Learning workshop. Becoming a teacher leader has made me a better and happier teacher. TL training has given me the best tools to reach my students in loving and enjoying Spanish. My students enjoy my classes because they get to use the language and not just learn about it. They feel very successful and like the themes we work on. They see how they could use Spanish if they visited a Spanish speaking country. I am very grateful to be part of this initiative because I have met many wonderful people that have helped me every step of the way. I always look forward to the next meeting or the next summer institute because when I leave them I feel energize to keep on going with my career.
When the then MDOE WL Specialist Don Reutershan first pitched his vision of a standards-based professional development plan for Maine teachers to me, I knew that I had to be part of making it a reality. If the dissatisfaction with assessment results and the desire to find something better that we were feeling in my department at Lawrence High School was any indication of what other teachers might be feeling, then it must be a timely and much needed plan. And so it was. Not only did I observe my own students improve from a more engaging and meaningful learning experience, but I also observed teachers from all over the state do the same. The interest and enthusiasm that this Initiative has generated have made working to organize and expand the Summer Institute and regional workshops an exciting and rewarding experience. I work with a group of teacher leaders who never cease to amaze me with their thirst for knowledge, their enthusiasm, and their dedication to their students and fellow Maine teachers. Of course my work is made easier and enjoyable with the creativity, support and leadership of my co-coordinator Dr. Jay Ketner, our current WL Specialist.
Bangor High School and Cohen Middle School
My name is Brooke Dupuy. I am currently a French teacher Bangor High School and Cohen Middle School. I previously taught at Hermon High School for 8 years. I applied to be a Teacher-Leader in 2012 because I didn’t know very much about Standards based teaching, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I felt like my teaching had become routine, and I needed a boost. I didn’t want my students to just learn about French, I wanted them to be able to use French. Proficiency-based education seemed like the way to accomplish my goals for my students, but converting everything to Standards seemed so overwhelming. I knew that if I attended the Institute and became a Teacher-Leader, I’d really have to dig in and learn everything about it.
I have really enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with being a teacher leader and I have learned so much through my work with the initiative. I have been energized, supported, encouraged, inspired, and challenged by this amazing group of educators, and by the teachers who have attended my workshops. I am looking forward to another year of learning from and collaborating with all the talented language teachers throughout the state!
Justo Perez Estevez
Scarborough Middle School
My name is Justo Perez Estevez. I am from Granada, Spain. I am currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Spanish at Scarborough, Maine. I have experience teaching Spanish in middle school, high school and college. During the summer institute of 2015, I learned strategies that I am using in my classroom where we use the Marzano philosophy. I am enjoying the summer institute because I want to continue to grow as a teacher by ditching the books in order to help students have fun learning Spanish in real life situations. I want to help bring back passion for learning.
Biddeford Middle School
My name is Elizabeth Holsinger and I teach Spanish at Biddeford Middle School. After about 10 years of teaching and not being able to attend trainings particular to language acquisition due to budgetary constraints, my classroom started to feel a little stale. I attended a local, free Standards Based Workshop and instantly felt energized and motivated to focus on communicating with my students. Using authentic material to interpret, converse and present information in Spanish makes learning and teaching more fun. I recently joined the Teacher Leader group in order to connect with other professionals and continue to grow as a teacher.
Westbrook Middle School
Hi, I’m Amber Burks. I teach Spanish at Westbrook Middle School and this is my second year as a Teacher Leader. I previously taught French at the Middle School of the Kennebunks, where I co-presented one of the first free workshops offered on Standards-Based Instruction and Assessment. From attending the Summer Institute to learn from ACTFL experts, to developing thematic units with colleagues from around the state, I feel fortunate to find myself once again in this role. Professionally, my students have benefited from the knowledge and skills I have acquired and incorporated into the classroom. Personally, I have found a community that encourages and inspires me to continuously improve my teaching.
World Languages Specialist
Maine Department of Education
This initiative wouldn’t live without the commitment, passion, and expertise of the people on this webpage. As co-coordinator of the initiative, it’s rewarding to bring my background and knowledge of research-based, best practices in language and intercultural teaching and learning to develop statewide professional development opportunities that benefit educators and students. While my role at times is behind the scenes, it is out in front at other times, but in each context moving the initiative forward in a dynamic, productive and effective way guide my work in planning for next steps and measuring outcomes. I couldn’t do my part without my co-collaborator Marty Brooks doing her part, and neither of us could do it without the involvement of our Teacher Leaders.
Chunli (Lily) Crane
Bangor High School
Hello! Ni Hao! My name is Chunli (Lily) Crane. I teach Chinese at Bangor High School. I started my teaching career in 2010, a year after I moved to the U.S. Being new to this country, the only Chinese teacher at my school, and one of few Chinese teachers in the state, I often felt helpless in the past when searching for materials and different activities for my teaching. However, I am lucky to be teaching at a school where all the language teachers help each other and work as a team. This past summer, I was extremely happy to be accepted and trained to be one of our state’s teacher leaders for standards-based initiative. The summer institute at UMF was very helpful to me and I enjoyed working with a group of talented and devoted language teachers. I have learned a lot from the listening to lectures, participating in discussions, and working out the unit plans within the groups. I am very grateful I had the chance to be part of this wonderful group and will continue to take advantage of it to improve my teaching skills.
Eunice Kullick Loredo
Messalonskee High School
¡Hola! My name is Eunice. It’s an honor for me to be part of a wonderful team of World Language Teacher Leaders in Maine and to have received training first-hand from ACTFL’s experts in the current practices of teaching foreign languages.
After attending the first best professional development in the summer of 2012, I was completely engaged. Not only did I make a lot of new friends, but because my teaching career grew tremendously taking me into new pathways to better serve my students, my district, and share my knowledge with teachers around the state. In 2012 my school was moving into a standard base program; however, the trainings available did not address how to apply it to world languages. With this initiative from FLAME and the DOE, the answers were there. Every year we have learned the steps for the best practices of teaching languages in the standard based world. Starting with distinguishing the benchmarks for proficiency levels, addressing the three modes of communication with practical strategies in the instruction, assessments that show student grow in their learning, not to mention how to integrate the 5 C’s into a unit, and many other great things.
Some of my colleagues in my department have gone into the summer institute too, we came back super motivated to make changes, we have recreated the entire curriculum, threw up the old books and became very creative designing new units standard based and becoming the authors of our own activities using authentic resources. Our students love everything.
Being a teacher leader is a beautiful journey and I am very happy to be part of it. I highly recommend any new or veteran world language teacher to participate in our professional development in the FLAME Summer Institute and to attend the free workshops during the school year, you won’t regret.
RSU #2. (Hallowell, Farmingdale, Monmouth, Dresden, Richmond)
French and Spanish
My name is Jonna Bouré and I am an elementary (K-5) French and Spanish teacher in RSU #2. (Hallowell, Farmingdale, Monmouth, Dresden, Richmond) This is my third year as a teacher leader, and I’ve found the summer institutes to be the most valuable professional development I have ever experienced. This group of teacher leaders have been supportive and encouraging of each other as we work on our common goals to make world language teaching and learning a vital an active part of every student’s education in Maine. I look forward to continued opportunities to work with other teachers, particularly at the elementary school level.
Lewiston High School
French and Spanish
Salut et Hola! My name is Paula Gerencer and I have been teaching French and Spanish at Lewiston High for the past 25 years! After majoring in French in college, and spending a year in France, I decided that teaching was my passion.
It has been a very fun and enlightening experience to have been a teacher leader for the past two years. Our camaraderie and philosophies make “work” not seem like work. I have learned a tremendous amount and am looking forward to being able to share with others.
Bonny Eagle High School
Salve! I’m Rebecca Manchester and I teach Latin at Bonny Eagle High School. This is my third year with the initiative and it has been great! As a Latin teacher I felt that with some things I was on the outside looking in but now I’m part of a wonderful process that I hope will help other Classics teacher in moving forward.
And this is one of my ridiculously photogenic cats, Echo.