At a special ceremony yesterday at the State House in Augusta, Governor Paul LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen  announced six semi-finalists for the 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year.

They are:

Susan Carpenter O’Brien, George B. Weatherbee School, Hampden, Grade 5

Christiane Cullens, Mount Desert Island High School, Grades 10-12, English

Mary Graziano, Hartland Consolidated School, Grade 4

Karen MacDonald, King Middle School, Portland, Grade 6 & 7, English language arts

Suzen Polk-Hoffses, Milbridge Elementary School, kindergarten

Cynthia Raymond, Hall-Dale Middle School, Farmingdale, Grade 7, English language arts

“The best teachers are mentors and challenge our students to be innovative, creative and engaging,” said Governor LePage. “These teachers want to make a difference in the lives of students, and often times they do. Each of you has set a shining example of being a great teacher. Maine is very lucky to have you.”

The 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year will be announced at a surprise all-school assembly in September.

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Last year's Teacher of the Year was Shannon Shanning, a special education teacher at the Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland.  Shannon is part of the panel that will select this year's Teacher or the Year.