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New Teacher Leader Selected for District’s Island Schools

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New Teacher Leader Selected for District’s Island Schools
Posted on 07/13/2015

A new teacher leader has been selected for Peaks Island and Cliff Island elementary schools: Renee Bourgoine-Serio, a teacher with more than 20 years of experience with the Portland Public Schools.

Bourgoine-Serio’s nomination to the post is slated to come before the Portland Board of Public Education for formal approval at its next business meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Bourgoine-Serio was selected by a panel that included island parents, school and district leaders and elementary education specialists, said Jeanne Crocker, the district’s director of school management, who will become interim superintendent on Aug. 1.

“Renee has a wealth of experience as a classroom teacher and is deeply invested in best practices for teaching and learning. She also has international teaching experience that informs her work here in Maine. Additionally, she is skilled at collaboration, which will aid her in working closely with her colleagues to create teacher-led, parent-supported island schools that provide an optimal learning environment for students,” Crocker said.

Bourgoine-Serio said, “I’m delighted to have this opportunity to help build a strong community at the island schools. I also plan to take advantage of the natural and human resources that the islands offer to help enrich the already strong academic and social opportunities at the island schools.”

For example, Bourgoine-Serio said she envisions staff and students using the island’s resources as a platform to engage in writing expeditions around such topics as ecology, transportation, environmental stewardship, marine life and the Civil War.

Also, because the islands are home to artists and authors, Bourgoine-Serio plans to institute a Writer/Illustrator in Residence program. She said she hopes the program will result in partnerships for the future and help make literacy and art an interactive community commitment.

Bourgoine-Serio, who is certified in elementary education and ESL, began her career with the Portland Public Schools in 1990. During that time, she has worked in Portland Adult Education and in a number of schools, including Reiche Community School, Nathan Clifford Elementary School and Deering High School. She has taught second grade at Ocean Avenue Elementary School since 2012.

For two years, from 2010 to 2012, she was a first grade teacher at the Shekou International School in southern China. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she led a professional learning community charged with selecting an English language assessment for the school. She also supervised two teaching assistants.

Bourgoine-Serio earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in literacy education and ESL from the University of Southern Maine. She is currently pursuing certification in administration through the Leaders of Tomorrow’s Schools cohort at USM.

“That has given me a broader lens on how schools – and all people working in and attending schools – can continuously improve. I am eager to put my ideas to work at the island schools,” she said.