Passages Program Welcomes New Teacher

Posted on Monday December 27, 2010

Wayfinder Schools is pleased to announce the hiring of new teacher Heather King, of Windsor. King joined the school’s staff this month, as a teacher in The Passages Program for teen parents.

King, who hails from New Hampshire, has spent the last eleven years living in Pennsylvania, and says she is thrilled to now call Maine her home. “I am beyond excited to be a resident of such a diverse and picturesque state,” she said.

Before moving to PA, King worked as a kindergarten teacher and Head Start home visitor, while more recently, she has taught high school and college English.

King said, “I am truly thrilled to teach at Wayfinder Schools because of the positive influence it has on the community. This position fosters a climate in which I can help students advance academically but also encourage them to be confident, capable human beings who can give back to their communities.”

Wayfinder Schools’s Passages Program serves teen parents in Knox, Lincoln, Waldo and Washington Counties. Students are matched with a Passages Teacher who provides individualized instruction in the student’s own home, thereby eliminating the need for young parents to secure daily transportation and child care in order to attend school.

Founded in 1994, the Passages Program has helped over 120 young parents realize their goal of graduating with a high school diploma. Passages students receive instruction in 24 core areas in academic, parenting and life skills- including math, science, social studies, English Language Arts, child development, budgeting, nutrition and more.

Before graduating, each student must complete a final “Passage”, a project that addresses a personal challenge or goal for the student. Recent Passages projects have included everything from raising funds for The Maine Children’s Cancer Program to learning to play guitar, writing a novella, developing a cookbook for children with special developmental and dietary needs, and even working with town officials to secure sidewalks for a downtown area with heavy stroller traffic.

Last year, Passages student Amanda Thornton spoke at the state-wide drop-out prevention conference and the Maine Family Literacy conference, and was selected as the keynote speaker for The Maine Family Literacy Initiative’s award ceremony in June. There, she spoke alongside former First Lady Barbara Bush and Maine’s First Lady Karen Baldacci.

One recent Passages Program graduate said, “If you had asked me four years if I would ever graduate with my high school diploma, I would probably have told you no. Thanks to The Passages Program, I can say yes.”

King replaces longtime Passages Teacher Janet Larkin, who recently retired from teaching to pursue her writing career. King joins fellow Passages Teacher Andrea Itkin and Passages Program Director Martha Kempe in serving students throughout the mid-coast area.

Kempe said, “We are very pleased to have Heather join Passages. Her combination of experiences in teaching and counseling fit so well with the needs of the position. Her energy and commitment to our students’ growth as parents and learners was evident from her first day with us. We are so happy to have her join Wayfinder Schools staff.”