HAMPDEN — In a special event before students and colleagues at Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden, the Maine Department of Education and Educate Maine named eighth grade teacher Kelsey Stoyanova Maine’s 2022 Teacher of the Year.

Stoyanova’s journey began in May, when she was named the 2021 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year. Stoyanova, along with 15 other County Teachers of the Year, was selected from a pool of hundreds teachers who were nominated earlier this year. In August, she was named one of three state finalists before being selected as the 2022 Teacher of the Year.

The other two state finalists were Hillary Hoyt of Leroy H. Smith School, Winterport, 2021 Waldo County Teacher of the Year, and Paige Fournier of Freeport Middle School, 2021 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.

Stoyanova teaches language arts at Reeds Brook Middle School, part of Regional School Unit 22 in Hampden. The district includes the Waldo County towns of Frankfort and Winterport.

Stoyanova has a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education with an English concentration, a master’s degree in education with a literacy focus, and is working toward her Educational Specialist Degree in educational leadership — all as a University of Maine Black Bear.

Stoyanova is passionate about reading and helping students find an authentic love of reading through integrating a strong foundation of independent reading in her classroom. She was selected as a grant recipient by the Book Love Foundation in 2020.

As an advocate for student involvement in curriculum creation, Stoyanova became the RSU 22 Middle Level Language Arts Curriculum Leader, working to audit, align and enhance the curriculum. She serves on the Equity in Education Committee where she designed and implemented the RSU 22 Reads Three Reading Challenge for students and community members to participate in, thus far making a point to highlight BIPOC authors and characters, women in literature, AAPI voices, and LGBTQIA+ authors and characters.

Stoyanova is sought out as a technology enthusiast, mentor, and loves to share and design creative projects and assessments with her colleagues in all content areas. After school, you can find her going on outdoor Maine adventures with her family, or with her nose in a book.

The Teacher of the Year Program is a year-long process that involves educator portfolio and resume submissions, interviews, oral presentations, and classroom visits made by a selection panel composed of State Board of Education members, school administrators, Maine Department of Education staff, former Teachers of the Year, and other Maine business partners.

As the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year, Kelsey will spend her year of service advocating for students and teachers and speaking to the importance of education in preparing Maine students for the future. She will also represent Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led advocacy organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Maine County and State Teachers and County of the Year Association (MCSTOYA). Funding for the program is generously provided by Maine businesses. The program’s lead sponsor is Bangor Savings Bank. Other program sponsors include Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, the Maine State Lottery, Unum and the Silvernail Family.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit mainetoy.org.