Portland teacher a finalist for Teacher of the Year

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PORTLAND — A King Middle School teacher is a finalist for Maine’s 2014 Teacher of the Year award, the state Department of Education announced Friday.

Karen MacDonald, an English language arts teacher, teaches sixth- and seventh-grade classes. She joins two other finalists: Mary Graziano, a fourth-grade teacher at Hartland Consolidated School in Hartland, and Suzen Polk-Hoffses, a kindergarten teacher at Milbridge Elementary School in Milbridge.

“The Maine Teacher of the Year is a valuable resource and spokesperson for Maine’s talented, professional educators and an advocate for all Maine students,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen in a press release. “More importantly, this program provides an opportunity for our entire state to celebrate these incredible classroom leaders who are helping to prepare our children for success in college, career and civic life.”

The three finalists were selected from six semifinalists. They will complete a final interview before the state announces the winner at a surprise all-school assembly in September.

Shannon Sperling, a special education teacher at Whittier Middle School in Poland, is the 2013 Maine Teacher of the Year.