May 24, 2024

In the public eye: Retiring teacher’s influence connects generations of WMS students

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

The final day of classes at Windham Middle School next month will be bittersweet as Wendy Day-Maynard will retire following a 38-year career as a teacher in Windham.

Wendy Day-Maynard is retiring at the end of
the school year after working 38 years as a
teacher in Windham. She is currently a
sixth-grade math and science teacher at
Windham Middle School. 
A sixth-grade math and science teacher at WMS, Day-Maynard has worked closely with other teachers to plan curriculum, lessons, as many hands-on activities as possible, while planning and giving formative and summative assessments, and offering students feedback about their work.

“Arriving daily with a smile and energy to work with sixth graders is a must,” Day-Maynard said. “Besides teaching though, the other part of the job that is even more important is spending time each day building relationships. That's the best part of my job. It's getting those kids who ‘hate math’ to buy into what we're doing and help them to see they are capable and can find success. It's getting kids engaged in the science and math curriculum and showing them how it relates to their lives now and in the future. Our science curriculum focuses on Earth Science. Many of the lessons are around water, and living this close to Sebago Lake and other water bodies allows them to really think about how humans impact our community and its ecosystem every day.”

She was originally hired in 1986 as a seventh grade English and Language Arts teacher and with the exception of two years at Manchester School as a sixth-grade teacher, the other 36 years have been at Windham Middle School.

“When I started at the middle school it was grades 7 to 9, and then they moved ninth grade to the high school and grade six from Manchester to WMS,” she said. “It was a great move. And while I hadn't wanted to move to Manchester, my move from grade 7 to grade 6 was the best thing that could have happened. Having one group of kids for the day instead of seeing 100-plus students per day was the perfect match for me. It allowed me to better connect with my students. For me, I've always felt that smaller is better, especially as they transition from elementary to middle school.”

She says that the kids, the faculty, and the community are what have kept her coming back to teach in Windham year after year.

“Although I live in South Portland, Windham has really been my home in many ways since I started working here. I love the relationships I've made over the years with families,” Day-Maynard said. “In many cases I have taught my students' parents and now have them in the classroom. I love showing my students old pictures of their parents as sixth graders or sharing stories about them. At conferences I enjoy catching up with former students and getting to know them as adults.”

Day-Maynard grew up in Waterville and graduated from Waterville High School in 1981. She attended the University of Maine Farmington and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and then obtained a master’s degree from the University of New England.

She said it was her parents who encouraged her to apply for a position in Windham.

“I was subbing during the day and working in Portland at the time and making a lot of money, but they were adamant that I had gone to college to get a teaching degree and needed to get serious about finding a full-time job,” Day-Maynard said. “I applied for a long-term substitute position at WMS for a teacher on maternity leave, but she decided not to return, so I stayed for the rest of that year and never looked back.”

It’s tough for her to single out her most memorable moment working for WMS.

“I was lucky enough to be hired by Hal Shortsleeve in 1986,” she said. “I had no experience other than subbing, but he gave me the chance and I've never looked back. It's also the people I work with. Over 38 years you get to see many amazing people do great things in education. I've been blessed to have amazing co-workers each of my 38 years. While the names and faces have changed, the passion and enthusiasm they have for kids and teaching has not.”

According to Day-Maynard, the most important thing she’s learned while working for WMS is that Windham is a very lucky community.

“I work with the best educators around,” she said. “The community should feel very blessed to have so many loving and caring adults working with their kids each day.” <

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