ASHLAND, Maine — When Cheryl Harris, grade 6 to 12 special education teacher for SAD 32, announced her colleague Nancy Truman as the 2019 Citizen of the Year for Ashland on Friday, July 5, no one was more surprised than Truman herself.
“I’m so humbled and honored,” Truman said, after accepting her award. “There are so many wonderful people who could’ve easily received this. I’d like to say thank you to anyone who nominated me.”
Truman has taught various subjects, including English, math and special education, for Ashland District School throughout the past 13 years and has lived in the community for five years. She currently serves as a special education teacher and the special education director for the entire K to 12 student body.
While reflecting on her career thus far in Ashland, Truman said her greatest rewards have been watching students with special needs go beyond their perceived limitations and accomplishing goals such as passing difficult classes and getting accepted into colleges of their choice.
“I learn as much from my students every day as they do from me. They’ve taught me how to accept and embrace new experiences,” Truman said. “It’s rewarding to help them accomplish things they never thought they could do.”
Truman received the Citizen of the Year award during the 3rd evening of the Ashland Area Summer Festival, which lasted from July 3 to 7. The award has become an annual tradition for the festival, recognizing a nominated person who has made a positive impact in the lives of others.
Beth Ann Basso, a member of the summer fest committee and local parent, said that she has seen firsthand the impact that Truman has made on Ashland District School.
“I have three children, two of whom have special needs. It was tough to go through the special education process, but Nancy was right there walking us through it,” Basso said.
When reading quotes from the four nomination forms that Truman received, Harris described the educator as someone who “makes a difference daily” and has “improved the quality of life for so many people.”
“Nancy understands that all students learn differently and gives her time and talents to help them with everything,” Harris said.