AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Education has named the top teachers in each of Maine’s 16 counties in preparation for the competition that will crown the state’s top K-12 educator.

The winners, selected from a field of more than 300 nominees, were announced by first lady Ann LePage and Acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin on Thursday in Augusta, according to a news release from the Department of Education.

The teachers, by county, are:

— Aroostook: Susan Baulier, Ashland District School.

— Androscoggin: Debra Miller, Raymond A. Geiger Elementary School in Lewiston.

— Cumberland: Tayla Edlund, Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth.

— Franklin: Brenda LaVerdiere, Academy Hill School in Wilton.

— Hancock: Mickie Flores, Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School.

— Kennebec: Gretchen Nickerson, Helen Thompson School in West Gardiner.

— Knox: Fallyn Adams, Union Elementary School.

— Lincoln: Jennifer Wright Gregg, Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta.

— Oxford: Laurie Catanese, Oxford Hills Middle School in South Paris.

— Penobscot: Angela McLaughlin, Glenburn Elementary School.

— Piscataquis: Mia Morrison, Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

— Sagadahoc: Johnna Stanton, Morse High School in Bath.

— Somerset: Debora Tanner, Skowhegan Area Middle School.

— Waldo: Kathryn Foran, Leroy H. Smith School in Winterport.

— Washington: Ben Brigham, Shead High School in Eastport.

— York: Nick Wilson, Biddeford High School.

One of these educators will be named Maine’s 2016 teacher of the year during a surprise assembly at the winning teacher’s school in the fall.

First, they’ll go through an intensive selection process in which they’ll have to create a video showcasing how they teach, their portfolios will be reviewed, and they will be interviewed by members of the selection board, including Desjardin.

“What makes the 16 county teachers of the year, and so many others across our state, great is that they believe in every single child they teach,” Desjardin said in the release. “Instead of making excuses, they inspire students and instill them with the skills and confidence they need to realize their incredible potential, no matter the challenges.”

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led group that advocates for education and workforce development.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.