YARMOUTH – A seventh-grade mathematics and science teacher in his 12th year of teaching was honored at a surprise all-school assembly Monday afternoon with the presentation of a prestigious national teaching award, and a check for $25,000.
Maine Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen presented the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award to Morgan Cuthbert in front of students, colleagues, and local and state dignitaries at Frank H. Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth.
“How great is it that we get to honor another Maine teacher for the work he does improving the lives of our children?” Bowen said. “Mr. Cuthbert meets the students where they are. He individualizes instruction for each student and engages them through the use of technology. As a result, he’s able to elevate their learning in the critical areas of math and science.”
Cuthbert has always designed instructional experiences with an eye toward motivating his students. When he arrived at Harrison Middle School, he took a classroom unit focused on blood and expanded it into a hands-on, service-learning experience that takes students out into the community. For three years, Cuthbert’s students have sponsored an annual blood drive in partnership with the local chapter of the American Red Cross where they have displayed their research projects about the circulatory system.
The project has been so successful, according to Harrison Middle School Principal Bruce Brann, that Cuthbert is working with other schools to replicate the blood unit.
Cuthbert’s daily instruction includes the effective use of technology for engagement, assessment, and research. His instructional practices are characterized by clear expectations, an unambiguous focus on standards, and frequent checks for understanding. His classroom is student-centered and operates on the basis of choice and mutual respect. Cuthbert’s communications with parents provide clear, concise, data-driven information regarding individual student progress.
Outside of the classroom Cuthbert plays a leadership role on the Yarmouth School Department’s K-12 science curriculum team, volunteers on the School Improvement Team, and mentors pre-service teachers. He continually reads about and studies new teaching strategies and techniques to try in his classroom. He has previously coached soccer, lacrosse, rugby, and crew.
Cuthbert received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hobart and William Smith College, in Geneva, N.Y., in 1998, received the training for his K-8 teaching certification through the Extended Teacher Education Program at the University of Southern Maine in 2000, and earned his master’s of Teaching and Learning from the University of Southern Maine in 2001. In May 2012, once he completes the required principal’s internship, he expects to receive a certificate of advanced studies in school administration from the University of Southern Maine.
Cuthbert lives in Freeport with his wife Christina and son Colby.
This year marks the 25th that the Milken Family Foundation has recognized and rewarded the noble profession of teaching through the Milken Educator Awards. Since first presented to a dozen California teachers, the program has grown to become the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program, having honored more than 2,500 teachers, principals and specialists with over $63 million in individual, unrestricted $25,000 awards. The exponential impact of the more than 2,500 outstanding teachers has helped to reform American K-12 education. The awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators. Each participating state department of education appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to review candidates through a confidential selection process and recommend candidates to the Foundation.
The Milken Educator Awards story doesn’t end with the surprise notification. New recipients are invited to join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education.
For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit www.mff.org or call the Foundation at 310-570-4775.
October 24, 2011
Maine Department of Education