Leroy H. Smith Elementary School Principal Dawn Moore Credit: Alex Acquisto

A Winterport educator who helped hang mirrors in her school’s hallways with encouraging words for students has been named Maine’s Elementary Principal of the Year.

Dawn Moore and another teacher were behind the decision to hang the mirrors in Leroy H. Smith Elementary School a few weeks ago, along with signs with expressions like, “I can make a positive impact on the world,” for passing students to glimpse their reflections.

[Mirrors at Maine school reflect words of hope, cheer to students]

In a school assembly Friday morning in the gymnasium, Maine Principals’ Association Executive Director Richard Durost handed Moore, 47, her own mirror and told her to look at her reflection while her students watched.

“You are looking at the state of Maine’s Elementary Principal of the Year,” Durost told students. “The very best of the best in the entire state.”

Moore has been principal at the school for almost a decade, where she is known for approaching education in inventive ways, Assistant Superintendent for Business Regan Nickels said.

[What it’s really like to be a Maine principal]

Moore taught in the Regional School Unit 22 district for 10 years before becoming principal at the Smith School seven years ago, where students in grades Pre-K to fourth grade attend. RSU 22 is comprised of Winterport, Newburgh, Frankfort and Hampden.

Superintendent of Schools Richard Lyons said this is the first time in his memory that an elementary school teacher in that district has won the statewide award.

“When there’s a sense of a common purpose, a positive climate, it just creates a learning environment that is very productive,” Lyons said.

Since Moore began her career in education 25 years ago, the teaching climate has changed drastically, she said.

“The responsibility of administrators and teachers is about more than just academics now,” she said. “It’s also about emotional, social and physical growth of the students. Our goal is to make sure every child is welcome here, and to make sure they are loved no matter what.”

Moore will be recognized for her achievement at an MPA conference later this month, along with the other winners.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.