This Year’s National Teacher of the Year: Michele Forman

s the 2001 National Teacher of the Year, Michele Forman is traveling the country meeting students, teachers, business leaders, and elected officials. This area is dedicated to keeping you in touch with Michele as she goes from state to state and to giving Michele an opportunity to share her experiences with her peers in the teaching community.

“The rewards I find in teaching are rooted in the joy of not only watching but also being part of my students’ learning and development,” said Forman, who teaches social studies at Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, Vermont. “A good teacher needs not only a good understanding of what he or she teaches, but also a sense of excitement in learning and a clear vision of how the key elements of a subject can be conveyed to students.”

With this philosophy Forman emphasizes an incredibly strong teacher and learner relationship. “Without mutual trust, students are wary of accepting the risk and vulnerability of learning,” she said. “For them, the threat of feeling or appearing inept or incompetent is best overcome with the support of a teacher in a caring, accepting and respectful relationship.”

Among Forman’s many beliefs about education, she is especially passionate about classes that include students with varied backgrounds and ability levels. “Education is enriched for all students when learners bring their different experiences, perspectives and skills to the group,” she said.

Forman was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, on April 7, 1946. Leaving Sylvan Hills High School in Atlanta, she went to Brandeis University and in 1967 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She holds a master's degree in teaching from the University of Vermont.

In the late 1960s she served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching health in Nepal. Forman was an alcohol and drug education curriculum specialist for the Vermont Department of Education before coming to Middlebury.

Professional activities include memberships on the History and Social Studies Academic Advisory Committee and the Academic Council of the College Board, and the Vermont Department of Education Task Force on High School Reform. She has helped develop history teaching standards for several organizations and is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Forman lives in Salisbury, Vermont, and is married to Dick Forman, a semi-retired professional musician. They have three children, Elissa, a psychotherapist in Florence, Massachusetts; Laura, a University of Vermont student; and Tim, a student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.



Coming Soon: her e-journal from April, 2001

Each month we will present an entry from Michele’s e-journal to keep you up to date on her personal experiences as the National Teacher of the Year.

View a complete list of every National Teacher of the Year since the beginning of the program.

Scholastic is the proud corporate sponsor of the National Teacher of the Year Program.