Aroostook Aspirations Initiative (AAI) recognizes that innovative education strategies are crucial to engaging students in their education and developing workforce skills.

Presented at the Gala each year, the Innovative Educator Award is given to an educator in Aroostook County who utilizes innovative techniques in the classroom. This award recognizes educators who implement new programs, strategies, techniques and technology within their classroom in order to better serve and engage students.

Aroostook Aspirations Initiative
Aroostook Aspirations Initiative

Gina Jandreau, a science teacher at Madawaska Elementary School, was selected as the 2017 Innovative Educator of the Year. She was nominated by Denise Duperre, Executive Marketing Director at NorState Federal Credit Union.

“Through her interactive classroom education, Mrs. Jandreau is able to inspire young minds to think outside of science to what the world has to offer,” said Duperre in her nomination letter. “She raised salmon in her classroom to teach students about the eco-system and they release them into the wild later on in the school year. She started the Little Owls Press, and students are actively engaged in getting information from local businesses to do stories and design ads. She also does the Madawaska Elementary School yearbook, applies for Perloff Grants for classroom science projects, such as robotics, 3-D printers, kindles, and more.”

This year’s award was sponsored by MMG Insurance. Chief Operating Officer, Matthew McHatten, says that it was an honor to recognize Jandreau for her outstanding dedication to Aroostook County students.

“Gina Jandreau exemplifies innovation in education through a unique, interactive, and real-world approach,” said McHatten. “MMG is proud to support Gina, and this award, as it reflects the talent and quality of our local educators and the competitive advantage they offer to our students. Innovation is the key to aspiration and broadening both thought and horizons for students, which is critical in preparing them for the opportunities of the future.”

Gina was humbled to receive this award. She says the excitement she sees in her students creates a huge sense of accomplishment for her as an educator.

“Allowing students to work with technology, with hands-on materials, with the community and get them outside of the classroom boundaries to deal with the real world as it is evolving, makes a huge difference in the lives of students,” said Jandreau. “It is motivating, engaging, and rewarding. Their work gives them a sense of pride, which makes them want to achieve at the highest possible levels. They are excited to come to school and continue learning.”

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