Michelle began her career in education during her college years. While studying chemistry at Princeton University, she learned sign language and developed chemistry and physics labs for students at the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf, located in West Trenton, N.J. From that point on, she knew she had to act on her lifelong desire to become a teacher. Michelle was one of 30 students in her graduating class of 1,070 to earn teaching certification through the Teacher Preparation Program at Princeton University. She is certified in chemistry and special education and is also fluent in American Sign Language. Now in her 17th year of teaching in Maryland’s public schools, Michelle maintains, “Teaching is all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
She is passionate about promoting STEM education for all K-12 students and partnering with colleagues to continuously improve instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. It has always been her professional mission to “cast the widest net” and create a high-energy classroom environment in which students of all abilities, including those with special needs, can succeed in learning advanced science and mathematics. Believing that there is an aspiring scientist in all of us, Michelle has taught chemistry to students of all levels, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, for 12 years at Urbana High School, located in Frederick County, Md. She also taught chemistry and mathematics for four years at the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD), bringing Advanced Placement Chemistry to MSD students for the first time in the school’s 135-year history, while serving as content area leader and coach of the 2005 National Champion Academic Bowl Team.
In addition to her work in the classroom, Michelle mentors new teachers and travels to speak on educational issues. She is passionate about partnering with parents, community members, and educators to eliminate achievement gaps and empower students with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind they need to succeed in school, the workplace, and in life.
A graduate of Princeton University (B.A. in chemistry) and McDaniel College (M.S. in deaf education), Michelle has completed additional graduate courses in deaf education at Gallaudet University. She is the recipient of numerous honors for teaching excellence, including the 2009 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Teaching, the 2010 Frederick County Teacher of the Year Award, the 2011 Maryland Teacher of the Year Award and the 2011 National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Award, among others. Since being named the NTOY, Michelle has given more than 200 presentations at various conference and events.
Born and raised in Wilmington, Del., Michelle currently lives in Wolfsville, Md., with her husband George, an Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate physics teacher. They enjoy spending time together at their home in the countryside and at the Delaware beaches with their only child, Carly.