Commissioner Makin, Dr Shah, School Nurses Honored for Distinguished Service


The Maine School Boards Association presented Distinguished Service Awards this year to Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, and dedicated school nurses throughout the world. State, for their exemplary leadership and work.

MSBA President Lucy Richard presented the awards on day two of the Maine School Management Association’s Fall Conference, which was attended virtually Oct. 28-29 by school board members and superintendents from across the country. ‘State.

Makin was commended by MSBA for changing the focus of the DOE from being a regulatory body to one that supports school boards, administrators and teachers in their essential work. This support was essential when the COVID pandemic struck.

The Commissioner was the voice at the table with the Governor and other heads of state, weighing in on the most effective ways to keep students, teachers and administrators safe while continuing to teach and learn. She has been instrumental in helping public schools navigate the COVID health crisis, and she has done so while showing great respect for those on the ground.

Dr Shah has also rendered distinguished service as head of the Maine Center for Disease Control throughout the pandemic. He not only ran an agency that was at the epicenter of the COVID response, he communicated regularly in live news conferences covered by television and radio and wrote extensively in the newspapers. Its ultimate goal was to get the message across about the precautions needed to slow the spread of the virus.

Dr. Shah’s leadership was essential for school boards and superintendents as they enforced sometimes unpopular rules to keep students and staff safe. His highly visible support for public school safety protocols has helped the public and parents come to terms with necessary school closings, restrictions on sports and mask warrants.

School nurses were honored, with their names scrolling across the screen, for their dedication to keeping students safe. They worked long hours, contacted families, and carried out contact tracing and welfare checks.

To see a list of school nurses who help keep students in Maine public schools safe, click here.

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