County Faces: Tracy Reed of Wade

Tracy Reed of Wade has spent over a decade teaching students in Washburn how to appreciate the world around them, whether they are taking part in their own community or exploring cultures and environments in other parts of the world.

Reed recently finished her first year as a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher at Washburn District Elementary School and previously taught physics, chemistry, math and ninth-grade science at Washburn District High School. Every other year she leads a group of students and adults on a trip to Europe, where in the past they have visited Italy, Spain, France, Scotland, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland. She considers those trips to be great opportunities for anyone who comes along.

“I think it’s important for people, especially students, to see how other people live, what their cultures are like and how those cultures are different. They learn that those differences aren’t good or bad, they’re just different,” Reed said.

High school students who are members of Reed’s Destination Imagination team also embarked on their own adventure when they recently traveled to the global finals in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although the students did not win top honors in their respective competitions, she said some of the best parts of the trip were seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains and the site where the World’s Fair was held in 1982, not to mention interacting with students from 48 states and 18 different countries.

Reed herself has been an avid traveler for much of her life. After graduating from high school and getting married, she lived in Panama, Central America, where her husband was stationed for the U.S. Army. They returned to Aroostook County after four years, where they raised two children and now live in Wade with one dog, two cats, 15 chickens and two beehives.

Reed has always had a love of nature and said she enjoys the summers in northern Maine as much as she liked exploring the much more humid climate of Panama.

“I’ve always been more of a spring, summer and fall person. Winter, not so much,” Reed said. “My dad was a hunter and fisherman and he gave me a love for the outdoors and my mom always loved to garden.”

Reed’s journey as an educator has been as varied as the places she has visited. After many years out of high school, she began pursuing her degrees in environmental science and education from the University of Maine at Presque Isle just before her 30th birthday. This August she received her master’s degree in education, with a concentration in curriculum development, through an online program from the University of Phoenix.

Combining science and education has become a rewarding way for Reed to share her love of nature and the environment with students. She said that seeing the looks on students’ faces when they make their own discoveries about the world never loses its excitement.

“Right now we’re incubating quail eggs, which means we can see the quail move around inside,” Reed said. “Those types of projects are great because the students get to see science in action and realize the wonder of life.”

Regardless of where her students’ own lives take them, Reed hopes that they leave her classroom with a greater love of science and feel prepared to enter the world of high school and beyond. She strives to emulate the qualities of one of her favorite teachers, former Washburn District High School English teacher Rick Landeen, who was “caring but firm” and never lowered his high expectations for students.

“Even if some students weren’t meeting those expectations yet, he knew they could do it,” Reed said, about Landeen. “I’ve heard so many former classmates say that they were ready for college because of Mr. Landeen, so I hope that my students also feel that they’re prepared for life.”

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