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News Release - 2011 Colorado Teacher of the Year

Nov. 10, 2010

News Release

Hulstrom Options K-8 Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher Michelle Pearson Named 2011 Colorado Teacher Of The Year

View the video of the event (Runtime: 3:18)

For her dedication, loyalty and determination to bring the three Rs to education—respect, responsibility and rigor—Michelle Pearson today was named 2011 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones made the surprise announcement at an assembly at her school, Hulstrom Options K-8 School in Northglenn (Adams 12 Five Star School District).

In the last 18 years, Pearson has worked diligently to strengthen and improve the teaching profession through active involvement in professional development activities and mentoring. She says that now more than ever, educators need to be supported by the community and their peers. Pearson says her greatest accomplishments are what students, families, colleagues and the community have done together.

Pearson comes from a family of educators. She grew up listening to teaching stories, digging through book sales, putting up bulletin boards and puzzling over new subjects to teach with her family.

Pearson’s early passion for teaching has continued throughout her career. She has taught at Hulstrom Options School since 2004 and in Colorado since 1992. Her students say her magnetic personality is contagious. Pearson often uses artifacts and technology in her classroom to motivate and inspire her students.

“It’s the people that support you every day that make you a high-achieving school,” said Commissioner Jones. “It’s your teachers. One of those teachers has been selected to be the 2011 Colorado Teacher of the Year. She believes in rigor for all students.”

Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, Adams 12 Five Star Schools Executive Director of Specialized Populations, wrote in her letter of recommendation: “Michelle is the most talented, dynamic, enthusiastic, innovative teacher I have worked with through my 22-year career. She absolutely exemplifies ‘Teacher of the Year’ and would be extraordinary in this role.”

Adams 12 Five Star Schools Superintendent Chris Gdowski said, “Michelle does a better job than any other teacher I’ve encountered in my career. Michelle is an outstanding ambassador for the teaching profession and a true advocate for public education.”

Pearson received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington. She has completed graduate work and continuing education from Delta State University, Adams State College and Colorado State University.

"I am deeply humbled to accept this award,” said Pearson. “This award is not just about me. Every teacher in this school is doing their best everyday so your dreams can be realized. This is a great opportunity for all of us together.”

Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones, Colorado State Board of Education Vice Chairman Randy DeHoff and Colorado Education Association Board of Directors President Beverly Ingle attended the event today.

Randy DeHoff added, “It’s a true pleasure to witness today the love and respect this community has for Mrs. Pearson. Her accomplishments in the teaching profession are exemplary and I’m happy she is getting the recognition she deserves.”

Pearson was chosen by a six-member committee comprised of individuals from state-level education agencies.

Pearson becomes the Colorado nominee for National Teacher of the Year honors and serves as a teaching ambassador to communities and organizations around the state and nation. The Colorado Teacher of the Year represents the entire teaching profession in Colorado.

The Teacher of the Year selection process includes a written application, letters of recommendation, classroom visits, endorsements from the teacher’s district and personal interviews.

Nominees are judged on their ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities. They are expected to play an active role in the community and to have earned the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues.

The Colorado Department of Education received generous support and sponsorship of the event from the Colorado Education Association, Adams State College, SMARTer Kids Foundation, Colorado Masons and Classworks.

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