Michelle Shearer
2011 National Teacher of the Year

On May 3, 2011 before a White House audience that included our (state) 2011 Teacher of the Year, (name), President Barack Obama presented to the American people, the 2011 National Teacher of the Year, Michelle Shearer, a tenth through twelfth grade Chemistry teacher from Urbana High School in Frederick County, Maryland.

As the daughter of two teachers, Ms. Shearer says that education was so central to her life that she recognized from a young age that she wanted to become a teacher. While studying at Princeton University, she had the opportunity to learn sign language and volunteer to teach a deaf fourth grade class. From that point on, Ms. Shearer knew that she had to become a teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Princeton University and a master’s degree in deaf education from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. She is also certified in special education.

Ms. Shearer believes that there is an aspiring scientist in all of us. Although chemistry, as she says, can be an intimidating subject that is often viewed as difficult for students to grasp, she has always embraced this simple idea: Chemistry is everywhere, and thus chemistry is for everyone. Her personal teaching style incorporates her beliefs about teaching in that she is always conscious of the chemistry between the students and her in addition to the chemistry curriculum itself. Ms. Shearer does not let any students fade into the background, and every year she watches students unsure of their scientific abilities transform into confident, mature learners in the positive and high-energy classroom environment she and her learners create.

Her methods have a powerful impact. Derrick Williams, a former student at the Maryland School for the Deaf, says, "Ms. Shearer has the passion and the drive to ensure that each individual in the classroom has a precise understanding of the content she is teaching and her classes are structurally built for nothing else but success."

She was chosen the National Teacher of the Year from among the fifty-five 2011 state and territorial teachers of the year. Selected by the oldest and most prestigious awards program to focus public attention on excellence in teaching, Ms. Shearer began a year as a full-time educational spokesperson in June 2011. The National Teacher of the Year Program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, is sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, in partnership with the University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador Programs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Michelle Shearer, the 2011 National Teacher of the Year.