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Honor humbles top Westbrook teacher

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 9:32 am | Updated: 10:22 am, Thu Feb 14, 2013.

WESTBROOK – Everyone has that special teacher they remember. For some, it will be Nancy Sargent.

Sargent, a kindergarten teacher at Canal Elementary School, has won the Westbrook School Department’s Teacher of the Year award.

“I’m really proud of it; it’s a humbling moment,” Sargent said. “I think my enthusiasm and the way I interact with the kids lets people know I care about them.”

Canal Principal Kathryn Hersom said Sargent was not only friendly and helpful, but also innovative. When the school received new laptop computers this year, Sargent was the first one to sign them out. She uses the computers to help teach her students shapes and colors.

“She’s the type of teacher who comes in to the job and doesn’t consider it work,” Hersom said.

 Sargent, 42, said her favorite moment is seeing her students understand.

“My favorite part is the students, see the smiles on their faces and see the little gains they make every day,” she said. “The light bulb goes off for them and I get to see these small moments.

Sargent got her first job in Westbrook as a special education ed tech in 1999. In 2005, she got her own kindergarten classroom. The Westbrook native, who now lives in Windham, grew up attending the same school she now teaches in.

“It’s a big circle of life,” Sargent said.

Superintendent Marc Gousse said he understands that circle of life – he works alongside teachers every day that he once taught in the classrooms. And that type of close-knit setting has made Westbrook a lightning rod for high-quality teachers. A teacher from Westbrook has won the state Teacher of the Year award four times in the last 13 years: Gloria Noyes in 2009, Marguerite Lawler-Rohner in 2004, Peter Lancia in 2002 and Todd Fields in 2000.

Besides the teachers, other staff members have also been recognized nationally. Hersom was the Elementary Principal of the Year in 2012, and others have been nominated as custodian, bus driver and administrator of the year.

“We’re very blessed in this district to have outstanding faculty and staff. It’s a great affirmation for what she brings to the classroom day in and day out,” Gousse said of Sargent.

Sargent also recognized her fellow colleagues as being key players in her success. The elementary school system was revamped last year with the closing of Prides Corner Elementary. The new team has worked together well.

“I work with a bunch of great colleagues. We’re a whole new staff, but we do our job well,” Sargent said.

Sargent will compete against teachers from public schools across the state for the Maine Teacher of the Year, to be announced in the fall.  

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