June 3, 2016

Jeff Riddle awarded American Legion Educator of the Year for State of Maine - By Michelle Libby

Jeff Riddle was awarded the American Legion Post 148 Educator of the Year award at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremonies and will be awarded the Department of Maine award later this month. Riddle is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Environmental and Agricultural Science Education. Jeff wears many hats at Windham High School.  He is an earth and space science teacher, adventure physical education teacher, advises the Windham Outing Club, is the varsity girls’ and boys’ cross country coach, and is a girls assistant outdoor track and field coach.  In his time at Windham, starting in 1999, Jeff has served on advisory boards and other committees.
“When I think of Jeff and the Qualities he brings to his job at Windham High School, the term ‘All In’ comes to mind…” Principal Chris Howell

“Working with a dedicated group of students and the Portland Water District, Jeff and his students collaborated to write, illustrate, photograph and draw, a watershed book called Discovering Water. This book was professionally published and distributed to all Windham sixth graders. A new version of the book is in the works (iBook) is national recognized and scheduled for wider distribution,” according to the paperwork submitted to the state. 

Outside of Windham programming, Jeff has been an adjunct instructor at Saint Joesph’s College, a sea kayaking guide, a co-host of The Maine Show, worked at L.L. Bean’s and  The Chewonki Foundation, and was an original board member of Teens to Trails (T3). 

Jeff’s boys and girls teams have been recognized at the highest levels for their sportsmanship. Additionally, Brenda Pennels noted, “He single handedly grew that program from a small group of students who were on the cross country team because they couldn’t make the soccer or football teams, to a formidable team of over 50 athletes who compete at a very high level statewide.  Where, today, a place on the cross country is one on the most coveted athletic achievements at the school.”
When asked what the honor of American Legion Department of Maine Educator of the Year means to him, he said, “It means that folks take notice and appreciate my efforts, expertise, and passion to support our students in the classroom, our athletes, and my full commitment to be a part of initiatives within the community that I teach in.  Which is what I believe in; being fully engaged in the school and community where I choose to teach and coach.”

Jeff doesn’t want to take all of the accolades. He gives credit to his wife and daughter as well as the teachers he works with. “…some of the best and most passionate and dedicated teachers, librarians, coaches, music directors, technology integrators, and administrators in Maine, and I get the privilege to collaboratively work with them, learn from them, and hopefully give back to them as well.”

“I expect myself to be involved the way I presently am in this community’s pursuit to teach its youth.  For me, it is not going above and beyond.  It is the norm that I expect of myself; to work tirelessly to positively influence and constantly push my students and athletes to realize what they are made of and what they can truly offer themselves and the communities they are a part of,” Jeff said. <


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