Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
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Waterville, ME 04903-1747
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Home > News > 2008 > Teachers' Delegation

Teachers' Delegation to Visit From Kotlas

By Phil Gonyar and Carl Daiker, with Gregor Smith

From December 5 to 13, the Kotlas Connection will host five teachers from the Kotlas area. They will visit Waterville schools and each will spend a day shadowing a local colleague in her field of expertise. The mayor of Kotlas was originally expected to come as well, but had to drop out of the trip at the last minute.

The five educators, all women, are math teacher Yuliya Burtseva, English teachers Olga Maksimenkova and Tatyana Pyatina, physics teacher Alena Ursu, and Olga Popova, head of the School Department at the Kotlas Pedagogical College. All teach in Kotlas, except for Ursu, who works in the neighboring town of Privodino; and all but Popova teach at the secondary school level. They will be accompanied by a facilitator, Yelena Vansyatskaya, who is an English instructor at Ivanovo State University.

We will greet the teachers at the Portland airport on Friday, December 5. Beginning on Monday they will engage in a professional program to orient them to American public schools. Their first meeting will be with Waterville Schools Superintendent Eric Haley. The pedagogues will then visit all of the Waterville schools, and each will meet with small groups of local colleagues and spend a day (Wednesday) shadowing a Waterville educator in her field of expertise. The teachers will also visit Colby and Thomas Colleges and will be special guests at the annual open house hosted by the Waterville Board of Education.

The teachers will not spend all of their time with local educators, however. On Saturday, December 6, they will tour southern and mid-coast Maine, including a stop at Pemaquid to view the Atlantic Ocean. On Tuesday, December 9, the delegation will meet Waterville Mayor LePage and tour the city. On Thursday, they will travel to Augusta to meet representatives of the Maine Education Association and tour the Statehouse and Maine State Museum. For that day, they will be joined by a similar delegation hosted by the Archangel Committee in Portland. Capital of the region containing Kotlas, Archangel is Portland's sister city.

While in Waterville the Kotlas visitors will be guests in private homes. As is our tradition, the Kotlas Connection's Executive Committee will hold a potluck "Thanksgiving Dinner" Tuesday evening to let the guests experience one of our important family holidays. We always hold a Thanksgiving Dinner when we have Kotlas guests, no matter what the time of year. Our visitors will also be the guests of honor at a public luncheon earlier that day.

Our visitors will also have at least two chances to get a taste of Christmas. On December 6, those who wish will visit the Christmas craft fairs at Waterville Senior High School and Temple Academy, where the Kotlas Connection will be selling authentic Russian-made Christmas ornaments, and on Friday, December 12, some of delegates will attend the Bossov Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker at the Waterville Opera House.

The visit is supported by a grant from the Open World Program, which is funded by the Library of Congress. Open World is designed to enhance understanding between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic republics. The Kotlas Connection began the grant competition a year ago. This is the Kotlas Connection's second Open World grant. In June 2004, Open World funded a visit by Mayor Melentev's predecessor, Alexander Shashurin; deputy mayor Andrey Bralnin; and two businessmen.

For more information about the visit, call either of the Kotlas Connection's co-chairpersons, Carl Daiker at 873-6562 or Ellen Corey at 872-7719.

Phil Gonyar and Carl Daiker are past and present co-chairmen, respectively, of the Kotlas Connection. Gregor Smith is the organization's webmaster.

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