Morgan Cuthbert ’98, a seventh-grade mathematics and science teacher at the Frank H. Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth, Maine, was recently honored at a surprise all-school assembly with the presentation of a prestigious national teaching award and a check for $25,000. Cuthbert is in his 12th year of teaching.
Maine Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen presented the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award to Cuthbert in front of students, colleagues and local and state dignitaries on Oct. 24.
“How great is it that we get to honor another Maine teacher for the work he does improving the lives of our children?” Bowen said. “Mr. Cuthbert meets the students where they are. He individualizes instruction for each student and engages them through the use of technology. As a result, he’s able to elevate their learning in the critical areas of math and science.”
Cuthbert has always designed instructional experiences with an eye toward motivating his students. When he arrived at Harrison Middle School, he took a classroom unit focused on blood and expanded it into a hands-on, service-learning experience that takes students out into the community. For three years, Cuthbert’s students have sponsored an annual blood drive, in partnership with the local chapter of the American Red Cross, where they have displayed their research projects about the circulatory system.
The project has been so successful, according to Harrison Middle School Principal Bruce Brann, that Cuthbert is working with other schools to replicate the blood unit.
Cuthbert’s daily instruction includes the effective use of technology for engagement, assessment and research. His instructional practices are characterized by clear expectations, an unambiguous focus on standards, and frequent checks for understanding. His classroom is student-centered and operates on the basis of choice and mutual respect. Cuthbert’s communications with parents provide clear, concise, data-driven information regarding individual student progress.
Outside the classroom Cuthbert plays a leadership role on the Yarmouth School Department’s K-12 science curriculum team, volunteers on the School Improvement Team, and mentors pre-service teachers. He continually reads about and studies new teaching strategies and techniques to try in his classroom. He has previously coached soccer, lacrosse, rugby, and crew.
Cuthbert received his B.S. in psychology from Hobart College. While a student, he was a member and captain of the rowing team, a Druid, and was inducted into the Chimera Society junior honor society. He received the training for his K-8 teaching certification through the Extended Teacher Education Program at the University of Southern Maine, and earned his master’s of teaching and learning from the University of Southern Maine. As a recipient of a Milken Educator Award, Cuthbert is invited to join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education.