PCHS’ Hennessey under review for 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year

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GUILFORD — Last month 2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year Joseph Hennessey, who teaches American, World, AP Literature and Composition and Camden Conference Seminar for grades 11-12 at Piscataquis Community High School, was announced as one of three finalists for the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year honor.

“Next Wednesday we are being visited by the state panel to talk to the kids, teachers and community members,” PCHS Principal John Keane said during a Sept. 11 school board meeting. “We are hoping he can go for the gold.”


Joining Hennessey — who has been teaching for six years — as finalists are 2018 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year Shana Goodall of Orono High School and 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year Connie Russell who is a grade 2 teacher at the Mabel I. Wilson School in Cumberland. The three were chosen from the 16 2018 Maine County Teachers of the Year honorees.

Next month Maine’s 2019 Teacher of the Year is scheduled to be announced.

In other business, the school board voted to allow Superintendent Kelly MacFadyen to pursue a grant to fund a handicapped-accessible bus with lift.

MacFadyen said the grant would come from the Maine Department of Transportation with funds awarded to the state from Volkswagen as part of the company’s settlement for violating the Clean Air Act. She said the grant covers 80 percent of the vehicle costs with the awardee funding the other 20 percent.

If the grant application is successful, approval could come in November, then SAD 4 could use the monies to purchase a new bus for about $104,000, with the district covering about a little more than $20,000 of the expense. MacFadyen said the engine would be propane-powered as the grant stipulations are for energy-efficient vehicles.

“It’s a good way to get a new bus at a low cost,” the superintendent said. She said the current 2007 model would be replaced, and while the bus will last it has needed repairs and will likely need more work in the future.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s costly to repair it,” MacFadyen said.

She said a new diesel bus would cost in the $80,000 to $90,000 range and the state does reimburse districts for vehicle expenses, typically one per year.

“I can file and see what happens,” MacFadyen said, as the school board could choose not to accept any awarded grant funds.

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