Maine Education Leaders Experience and Unum Celebrate 10 Years

This month marked the tenth year of the Maine Education Leaders Experience (ELE), a professional development program for educators. With the annual opening retreat, thirty-one members of the Kappa Class – who represent schools and districts across the state – gathered to meet their cohort and start their year-long journey.

ELE is a program developed and funded by Unum. Educate Maine administers the program in partnership with Thomas College and the Maine Principals’ Association. This partnership of business, education, and nonprofit sectors offers a unique model of professional development and experiential learning for Maine educators.

The opening retreat sets the stage for a year-long journey to learn about Maine’s economy, employment sectors, workforce, and the critical role that education plays in sustaining economic growth.

“Maine’s economy has everything to do with education and that is why this program is so important,” said Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “This type of symbiotic relationship is imperative to Maine’s future workforce.”

Matt Drewette-Card, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for MSAD 46 School District, shared his ELE experience with the Kappa Class. “ELE was by far one of the best professional learning experiences in my 20 years in public school education. Embrace this journey and take advantage of every opportunity presented.”

Members of the Kappa Class were joined by ELE alumni, members of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Live + Work in Maine joined the class for an opportunity to learn how to build effective relationships with business leaders. Many alumni shared how their experience with ELE led to better outcomes for their students, schools, and districts. 

“Creating a strong partnership between educators and business leaders is critical to 21st century employees,” said Cary Olson-Cartwright, assistant vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Unum. “This program helps our company learn valuable lessons from today’s educators and inform them on current workplace trends and needs. It’s beneficial for all of us.”

Next the Kappa Class will visit Washington County to gain a better understanding of Maine’s heritage industries of fishing, farming and forestry, research and development, and emerging industries impacting the regional economy. 

Visit Educate Maine’s website to learn more about the Maine Education Leaders Experience.

About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®.  


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