Bath educator is top teacher in Sagadahoc County

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BATH — Johnna Stanton says she works every day to build community within her Morse High School classroom.

Now, as Sagadahoc County teacher of the year, she can bring her expertise to other schools around the area.

“I am immensely proud to represent Morse High School, and Sagadahoc County,” Stanton said in an email May 9. “I know with the honor comes responsibilities and I’m excited about my professional growth over the next (12) months.”

Stanton and more than 300 other teachers around the state were nominated for county awards, and winners were selected by the state Department of Education. The commissioner of education will ultimately pick three state finalists, from whom the 2016 Maine teacher of the year will be chosen, according to a department press release.

Stanton, a Bath resident who has been at Morse for 15 years, teaches all four years of English, and is also yearbook class adviser.

“There is no better job for someone who loves talking about literature and working with teenagers,” Stanton said. “Every day I am surrounded by mountains of the best literature, and I get to talk about it with teenagers who are still forming their opinions about life and their philosophies.

“I believe school is community,” she added. “Every day I work to build that community from the English classroom.”

Stanton noted that stories connect everyone, and that she is passionate about connecting her pupils to “the stories of their community.”

She follows in the footsteps of Eric Varney, Morse’s AP Environmental Science teacher, who was named Sagadahoc County teacher of the year in 2014.

I am thrilled that Johnna was selected for teacher of the year,” Mandy Nalls, a guidance councilor who nominated Stanton, said in an email Wednesday. “… Johnna is an integral part of what makes Morse a great place to work and learn. She does not settle for ‘good enough,’ but constantly strives to make Morse a better place for students and faculty.”

“I sincerely hope that my own daughter has the opportunity to have a teacher of Johnna’s caliber when it comes time for her to attend high school,” Nalls added.

Since starting Morse, Principal Jay Pinkerton said in an email Wednesday, “I have been impressed with the quality of our faculty and staff. Having back-to-back Sagadahoc County teacher of the year recipients confirms my beliefs. Eric and Johnna are certainly wonderful teachers and great human beings. They touch lives and make a positive difference here every day.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sidebar Elements

Johnna Stanton, who teaches English at Morse High School in Bath, has been named Sagadahoc County teacher of the year.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.