PORTLAND, Maine — Matthew Bernstein, a Casco Bay High School teacher, has been named Maine’s 2023 Teacher of the Year by the Maine Department of Education.
Bernstein teaches 9th grade humanities and social studies.
“We are thrilled to announce Matthew Bernstein as Maine’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. Today we celebrate Mr. Bernstein’s love of teaching, his dedication to his students, and his leadership role in education,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Mr. Bernstein’s students and colleagues at Casco Bay High School have described him as energizing, empowering, inclusive, a mentor, supportive, patient, and loving.”
Bernstein’s Teacher of the Year journey began in May, when he was named the 2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, according to the Maine DOE. Along with 15 other County Teachers of the Year, Bernstein was selected from a pool of hundreds of teachers who were nominated earlier this year. In August, he was named one of four state finalists before being selected as the 2023 Teacher of the Year.
Bernstein’s teaching style is centered around student voices and student activism, according to the Maine DOE. He believes the purpose of education is to help students find their way of contributing to a more equitable world.
He is also passionate about creating opportunities for students to experience joy and belonging at school daily and he believes in cultivating meaningful relationships with students, often through his work as a 9th grade crew advisor, that are grounded in deep listening and holistic support, according to the DOE.
Bernstein has served as a team leader, crew team leader, and is currently a professional learning community coach where he facilitates ongoing professional learning with his colleagues.
He is a member of the Portland Public Schools Social Studies Vertical Content Team, collaborating with teachers across the district and local experts to develop Wabanaki Studies curriculum.
While not teaching, Bernstein is playing or coaching soccer and basketball, reading a book, or trying to determine where to find Portland’s best slice of pizza, according to the Maine DOE.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a European History concentration from Bowdoin College where he was also a Bowdoin Teacher Scholar.
As the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year, the Maine DOE says Bernstein will spend his year of service advocating for students and teachers and speaking to the importance of education in preparing Maine students for the future. He will also represent Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.