LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Reza Namin

Position: Superintendent
School: Maine Indian Education
School District: Maine Indian Education
City, State: Calais, ME

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Dr. Reza Namin's nominator would like to remain anonymous.

Dr. Namin has impressive academic and athletic accomplishments. He is the 2019 Harvard University Graduate School of Education Fellow and the Maine Indian Education Superintendent, leading the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Wabanaki Schools.

He has over twenty years of experience in many administrative and leadership capacities, including ten years as a school superintendent. These experiences helped him gain the knowledge, background, and vision required to serve as an effective superintendent of schools. He has implemented significant initiatives to foster a public awareness that is the cornerstone for support of education in the community, ensuring that staff, students, parents, and the community are informed of the mission and the accomplishments of the school system and promoting a robust and positive posture in building public support for the school system.

Dr. Namin has Professional Certification as a School Superintendent (in grades Pk-12) in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. He has a Ph.D. in Math and Science Education with a focus on Curriculum and Technology; a Certificate of Advanced Studies in 3D Geometric Modeling from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Leadership and Educational Administration, MEd, and BS in Chemistry and Mathematics from Worcester State University, Worcester, Massachusetts. Dr. Namin completed his Post-Doctoral Studies in Leadership for Understanding at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Namin is a National Superintendents Association Hall of Fame member and a finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year. He has been nominated for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, Science, and Technology. Dr. Namin was elected to serve on the Worcester State College Alumni Advisory Board and is the only alum with the distinction of being inducted into the Worcester State College Athletic Hall of Fame and receiving the Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Education Alumni Award. He's a former Professional Soccer Player who played for Boston and was drafted by MSL. He was named the New England Coach of the Year in NCAA Division I while coaching at Holy Cross College.

During Dr. Namin's tenure in Massachusetts, he was unanimously named by the Massachusetts Board of Education to serve as Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Advisory Council for a three-year term. He completed two three-year terms in the State Science, Technology & Engineering Advisory Council and took part in revising the new Science, Technology & Engineering Framework.

"We are creating communities committed to learning through rigor, relevancy, and relationships where children and adults, individually and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce the results that are important to us," said Dr. Namin.

Some of the key initiatives led by Dr. Namin are focused on critical system-wide goals of Wabanaki Studies, Blended Learning, and Positive Behavior Intervention or Response to Intervention. Maine Indian Education is moving into a Multi-Tiered Student Support System because every child requires a more personalized support system. Some other examples of the partnerships are:

  • Tribal Communities in Schools (TCIS) is a partnership between the National Indian Education Association and Communities in School to improve outcomes for Native students by implementing a culturally responsive, community-wide integrated student support (ISS) approach. As a licensee of the Communities in Schools ISS model, NIEA indigenizes the approach to ensure that the student supports integrate culturally responsive activities and interventions so that Native ways of knowing, believing, and learning are embraced, and Native students gain positive identity formation.
  • We Care (behavioral health services) provides 24-hour emotional and trauma-based intervention to all staff, parents, and students to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Dr. Namin oversees a partnership with MIT and Beaver Works Institute with a technology focus on coding and Artificial Intelligence. The partnership offers a 3D printing classroom, a way for students to truly connect to the subject matter by physically manipulating ready-printed teaching aids or by designing tools themselves. For Middle School students especially, this hands-on aspect of 3D printing in the classroom helps improve engagement and participation. The students are prepared to become part of the existing University of Maine Research to build new houses entirely using the 3D Printing model. Students are prepared for future jobs, not just as carpenters or electricians, but as 3D Printing Specialists to make entire houses using 3D Printing Technology.
  • Dr. Namin oversees a one-time funding award of $250,000 from Maine's Department of Education for the Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) Project. The grant is being used to design new programming for middle school students, including immersive project-based experiences, daily language and culture sessions, and real-world learning.
  • Dr. Namin oversees the Wabanaki Youth in Science (WaYs) and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) partnership to implement a more culturally relevant science course than traditional Western-based courses. The course integrates the Wabanaki Culture into teaching and learning science and uses our elders as "Culture Keepers."
  • Finally, Dr. Namin oversees a partnership with the Abbe Museum of Bar Harbor, Maine, to showcase the outstanding talents of Maine Indian Education Students.