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DHS Science Teacher Wins Russell Award

Heather Sawyer, a science teacher at Deering High School, is this year’s winner of the Russell Award. Sawyer was recognized for her achievement by Deering Principal Jake Giessman and fellow teachers at a recent special event at the school.

The Russell Award is an honor bestowed upon one teacher each year who exemplifies a firm commitment to the teaching profession, shares a love for learning with students, demonstrates intimate involvement in the ongoing life and activities of Deering High School, and displays creative self-renewal in their teaching practices.

Winners of the Russell Award are nominated and selected for this award by fellow teachers. Sawyer’s nomination underscored her commitment to student success.

The nomination states that Sawyer “goes out of her way to make sure her classes are engaging and students are learning in a hands-on way.  She uses creative ways to get students interested in her science classes each semester.  She is flexible and a team player and has done a great job taking over the forensic science and engineering classes that so many students enjoy. “

Each year, the University of Southern Maine, under the auspices of the Walter E. Russell Chair in Philosophy and Education, honors a Deering High School teacher for excellence in teaching with the award. Recipients are chosen by their colleagues. Walter E. Russell was principal of Gorham Normal School, a teachers’ college that eventually merged into the institution now known as USM, from 1906 to 1940. A preacher and educator born in Fayette, Russell died in 1948.  Concerned about the lack of qualified schoolteachers in Maine during the 1930s, Russell emphasized building up a source of quality teachers for the state.

Learn more in the Deering High School newsletter about the ceremony and other nominees.

PHOTO: DHS Russell Award Ceremony 2024. Shown are Heather Sawyer, this year's award winner (with plaque), Principal Jake Giessman and fellow nominees.