Allow me a bit of a humble brag here. My family is pretty psyched about the 2024 Maine County Teacher of the Year Awards held on May 9 in the Hall of Flags at the State House. I know. Strange thing to be excited about, but hear me out.

Each year, Maine's Department of Education awards a teacher from each of Maine's 16 counties the honor of being the Teacher of the Year for the county in which they teach, and one of my family members was a recipient. It's well-deserved, too.

Allyson Gilbert is my cousin's daughter, which makes her my first cousin once removed, even though she has called me her uncle for many years now. She knows better, but she seems to like doing it.

She is a third-generation teacher in my family, starting with my dad, who was a social studies teacher and Assistant Principal at Oxford Hills High School. My cousin Lori Hutchinson Pacholski was a teacher at Paris Elementary, and is now the principal there. Now, her daughter Ally is a High School Science and Engineering Teacher at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

Ally has her quirks as a teacher, like when she dresses up in costumes to celebrate whatever she thinks needs celebration. I think this costume might have been for Arbor Day? She's a tree lover, so why wouldn't she have a tree costume? That's Ally.

Ally Tree

She has been a teacher at Mt. Ararat since 2019, and you can tell how much she loves her job.

Allyson Gilbert via Facebook
Allyson Gilbert via Facebook

She gets excited when she hears my son Jake is taking biology, and tells him to let her know if he needs any help. I bet she'd love to teach him if she could.

Maine Department of Education via Facebook
Maine Department of Education via Facebook

Congratulations Ally. I think of what it would be like if your grandfather were here to see this amazing moment in your life. He'd be as proud as all of your family is. A little part of me thinks he did see it, and is smiling.

All of these teachers are well-deserving of their award. You can see the complete list of recipients on the Maine Department of Education's website. 

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