ORONO — Eight semifinalists, among them Winterport teacher Hillary Hoyt, have completed another round in the selection process for 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year.

The teachers submitted portfolios and delivered oral presentations to a selection panel July 29 at the University of Maine. Now they await the panel’s decision on three finalists, who will be announced by the end of August.

Maine Department of Education conducts the annual competition in partnership with Educate Maine, a business-led education advocacy organization that champions college and career readiness and increased education attainment. Serving on the selection panel are legacy Teachers of the Year, school administrators, Maine DOE staff, members of professional education organizations, and the business community.

In June Educate Maine announced the eight semifinalists, chosen from the 2021 County Teachers of the Year who were honored in May. For the three who become state finalists, the final step will be sitting for another interview and having a school site visit before one of them is named the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year in October.

A third-grade science teacher at Leroy H. Smith School in Winterport, Hoyt has been teaching for seven years. She was named Waldo County Teacher of the Year in May.

Originally from Frankfort and a University of Maine graduate, Hoyt holds a BA in elementary education with a minor in dance. She was a four-year member of the UMaine dance team and Tap Club, 2010-13, and was a captain of the dance team and co-captain of the Tap Club. She is the daughter of Ellen Hoyt of Frankfort.

Last spring, Hoyt was among teachers who participated in a new show on Maine’s public TV network to help remote learners, especially those who don’t have access to the internet, while schools around the state were closed.

“The Learning Space,” which premiered April 27, 2020, on Maine Public, featured teachers from around the state giving lessons for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in a variety of subjects. Hoyt’s lesson was about weather and natural disasters.

Smith School Principal Dawn Moore has said of Hoyt: “Her desire to make sure each child feels like they are important is evident in her ability to individualize for each child, yet set high expectations of citizenship and respect. Her ability to restructure lessons and units to meet students’ interests, with such a diverse classroom, is unique.”

The Teacher of the Year program is supported by both the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association. Funding for the program is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, the Silvernail Family and Unum.

More information about Maine’s Teacher of the Year program can be found on the Maine Teacher of the Year website. For questions and information, contact Program Director Dolly Sullivan at dolly@educatemaine.org or call 631-3385.