On Tuesday, May 3, 2011 a Maryland teacher of the year, who was named the nation’s top educator on Sunday, was honored at the White House. Michelle Shearer, is a chemistry teacher at Urbana High School in Frederick. On Sunday, May1, 2011 she was named as this year’s national winner.
Ms. Shearer was named a finalist for national award in January. She competed against teachers from Florida, Illinois and Montana.
“It means a lot to me, personally, but it really shines the spotlight now on the state of Maryland and draws attention to all of the wonderful things here — our principals and the hard work of our students, teachers, parents and the community who make it all happen,” Shearer told WBAL-TV 11 News education reporter Tim Tooten in January.
President Barack Obama honored Shearer at an event in which all 50 state teachers of the year were gathered. In honoring Ms. Shearer, in the Rose Garden, President Obama also put in a plug for changes to the No Child Left Behind education law that would make it “less punitive, more focused, (and) more flexible.”
“Michelle’s specialty is taking students who are normally underrepresented in science — minorities, women, students with disabilities, even students who say equations and formulas are just not their thing — and helping them discover the scientist within.” – President of the United States Barrack Obama
Ms. Shearer’s work as an Advanced Placement teacher and her success with students is what evidently had her shine above all other candidates for the 2011 award. She is the 2009 Maryland recipient of the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Teaching. Ms. Shearer is fluent in American Sign Language, which afforded her the opportunity to teach at the Maryland School for the Deaf, serving as Content Area Leader and coach of the 2005 National Champion Academic team.
Shearer has taught in Maryland public schools since she began her career in education 14 years ago. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Princeton University and her master’s degree in deaf education from McDaniel College.
Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement: “We are so proud that one of Maryland’s own has been named National Teacher of the Year. I’d like to congratulate Michelle on this distinguished honor and commend her for her dedication and hard work.”O’Malley continued: “Maryland has become a national model for quality, public education. Thanks to outstanding teachers like Michelle and the diligence of our students, parents, faculty and staff, our public schools have been named number one in the nation for three years in a row. Michelle’s ability to reach our students, her belief in the talents, skills and education of our people, and her commitment to the STEM disciplines have made her a national example for educational excellence.
Michelle is a model educator, working tirelessly each and every school day to bring science to life for her students.” – Maryland State Department of Education Secretary Nancy Grasmick
Shearer lives with her husband, George, an AP physics teacher at Urbana, and their daughter in Wolfsville. She is the second Maryland teacher in the last five years to receive the national honor. Kimberly Oliver Burnim, a Montgomery County kindergarten teacher, was named National Teacher of the Year in 2006.