AUGUSTA — Three elementary school teachers and one career and technical education teacher are state finalists for the title of 2009 Maine Teacher of the Year.

The 2009 finalists are Michelle Gagne, a first-grade teacher at Sherwood Heights Elementary School in Auburn; David Giroux, a grade nine through 12 automotive technology instructor at Maine Vocational Region Ten School in Brunswick; Gloria L. Noyes, a fifth-grade teacher at Congin Elementary School in Westbrook; and Diana Tomasello Waterman, a kindergarten through grade six music and chorus teacher at the Alfred and Shapleigh Memorial elementary schools.

Nine semifinalists underwent an intensive selection process consisting of a school visit, a professional portfolio review and an oral presentation. The four state finalists will complete a final interview before the 2009 Maine Teacher of the Year is selected.

The selection committee includes past teachers of the year, principals, Department of Education staff, members of the State Board of Education and the business community. The 2009 Maine Teacher of the Year will be announced at a surprise all-school assembly in September.

“Announcing the Teacher of the Year is one of the highlights of the year for me,” said Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron. I am constantly impressed by the commitment of Maine teachers to their students and by their enthusiasm for improving their craft. The work they do day in and day out, usually with little or no recognition, is inspiring. I can’t wait to announce this year’s Teacher of the Year next month.”

Hannaford Supermarkets underwrites the cost of the Maine Teacher of the Year program.