After 11 years at WMS he received the Maine STEM Teacher of the Year Award from the Perloff Foundation, which works closely with STEM teachers from all over Maine. “Windham is one of the top,” said Lanoie. David and Sandy Perloff have visited his classroom two or three times a year for the past six or seven years, he said. They interact with the students and take pictures of them working with the equipment and designing projects. Mr. Perloff will often times come with ideas from other labs and classrooms and ask how he can help Lanoie implement it.
The award was mailed to Lanoie at school and he thought perhaps it was a book about STEM, but when he opened it he was surprised. The Perloff’s had emailed him saying there was a package arriving soon, he didn’t expect the award.
“It completely took me by surprise. It’s a complete honor,” Lanoie said. “They wanted to start to recognize the teachers who have done so much for STEM.”
“The award is great. They thanked me up and down for what I’d done for my children,” he said. One girl in seventh grade has decided that she wants to be an engineer after taking Lanoie’s class. She signed up for STEM for next year, too. “If I get the students, it makes me feel like I’ve done my job,” he said. “The most important thing is to engage my students. What they will learn will actually benefit them. Not necessarily today, but there will be a time,” Lanoie said.
The Perloff Foundation donates money to the STEM program to keep the class going and the learning happening. “David wants to make sure his passion gets passed down to the students,” said Lanoie. “Sandy loves interacting with the students,” he added.
“This is a true testament to the work you have done with providing WMS students a stellar program,” Superintendent Sandy Prince said in a letter to Lanoie. “Unquestionably, you have been instrumental with building this strong partnership and I thank you for such. Your willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of your students is highly regarded by the wider school community.”
With the use of the 3D printers and other innovative projects, Lanoie, who is following in his father’s footsteps as a teacher in industrial technology, never wants to stop looking for something new.
“Jason has been at the forefront of new technologies within the STEM program. His work and dedication to his program and students has allowed the school to gain access to resources that are cutting edge and only dreamed of in other districts. This access to current technologies for our students allows them to use tools like 3D printers to solve problems and create,” said WMS principal Drew Patin.
Lanoie’s teaching partner, Joe Boudreau, just finished his first year at WMS. They work together to teach the students what they are best at often switching classrooms to play to their strengths.
“I’ve had to go in front of the board to save our program two or three times. We have to do something to make this important,” Lanoie said. He has become adept at grant writing with his first grant was given eight Lego robotics kits to use in the classroom. “It’s a long process. I have to prove it’s for the students and how many students will use them.”
“This access also opens students' minds to technologies used in current workplace environments. Jason's accomplishment brings recognition to an area of schools we need to expand and a style of teaching we also need to expand in order to better meet the needs of our learners. I am looking forward to seeing the work of his students this coming school year!” said Patin.
Lanoie is looking forward to a long career in the STEM lab. “I want to be interacting with the students. That’s where my passion is. Someday I’ll be hanging up my badge. I hope when I walk out the door, I can be proud of myself and what I’ve done,” he said.
Lanoie will leave the award in the lab for everyone to see. He said that the students recognized that it was an important award.