Michelle began her career in education teaching at a public charter school in Washington, DC where she developed a passion for working with at-risk youth. She taught 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th grade students all within the same day, which helped prepare her for her future position in alternative education. Michelle later accepted a position working with the non-traditional school system within Fairfax County, Virginia, where she remained for almost a decade before joining Metropolitan School of the Arts. Michelle holds a BA in International Relations and an MEd in Secondary Education from George Mason University. She completed a term at Oxford during her undergraduate studies.
Michelle’s experience in non-traditional classrooms enabled her to develop a unique set of instructional skills. She was responsible for a variety of curriculum, including all core high school social studies and English courses, as well as numerous electives, while simultaneously differentiating instruction based on students’ needs. She has worked with ESOL, Special Education, Honors students and more.
In the non-traditional classroom, Michelle worked closely with county educators and agency representatives, including juvenile probation officers and directors, youth alcohol and drug counselors, social workers and therapists, to create and implement education and treatment plans to meet and support student needs. She helped strengthen and revitalize a juvenile courts education program thru the development and implementation of a school contract, schedule and behavior management program that led to increased student enrollment, attendance and academic progress. She also worked to create and coordinate meaningful service learning projects for students, including work that benefited senior citizens, veterans and cancer patients.
For the majority of her years in Fairfax County Public Schools, Michelle worked as a social studies department chair. As chair, she was responsible for assisting and advising approximately thirty alternative school social studies teachers with curriculum, standards, resources and many other areas of need. She worked directly with administration to communicate department requirements and initiatives while advocating for students and teachers. She coordinated and facilitated monthly collaborative learning team meetings and professional development training sessions for social studies teachers and was also a presenter at the FCPS Nontraditional Schools Conference. Michelle worked on her school’s improvement plan committee, creating and monitoring goals for social studies teachers and students annually. She helped coordinate the development of monthly student common assessments and led her social studies team in the adaptation of online textbooks.
Michelle’s experience with a wide array of curriculum standards and educational technology, including various learning management systems, led her to accept an additional position working on her county’s curriculum development team. She assisted in the development, review and approval of curriculum resources and assessment items for Social Studies, Spanish language and Health & PE curricula for implementation and use in Fairfax County Public Schools’ Electronic Curriculum Assessment Resource Tool (eCART).