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Outstanding Educator

Michelle England

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06/01/2008 - To Michelle England, it seems presumptuous to be profiled as an Outstanding Educator. gI don't think of myself as a teacher,h she tells me as we sit in her living room. gI just like sharing my knowledge with others.h

Okay, let's analyze this: True, Michelle is employed full-time at Pro-kote, her family's business, and her job description does not include teaching. Also true, Michelle doesn't have a teaching degree.

On the other hand...

Fact: Michelle works part time as a youth coordinator for the First Christian Church. She plans, executes, and participates in lessons and activities for the church's Jr. high and high school students.

Fact: Michelle works part-time as a violin teacher.

Fact: Michelle teaches Sunday school every week.

Fact: Michelle traveled to China a couple of years ago and, for two months, taught English there.

Fact: Each of these endeavors requires Michelle's expertise, energy, dedication, planning, participation, and... sharing her knowledge with others.

Conclusion: Michelle can be profiled as an Outstanding Educator. Whether she believes it or not. And, Michelle, you're just gonna have to live with it.

A "with-honors" 2003 graduate of Natrona County High School, Michelle is the daughter of Miki, a retired school teacher, and Leigh, a business owner. Michelle has a younger sister Allison who is currently in London finishing up her degree in fashion design.

An animal lover, Michelle earned her Associate's in Biology from Casper College. She also took enough music credits to have minored in music.

"I like the teachers who are tough," Michelle says. Such teachers include NC orchestra teacher James F. Mothersbaugh, Jr. and Casper College music instructor Jennifer Cowell.

Michelle first picked up a violin at age 5. "I listen to something and practice it a couple of times and then I can do it." Now, to me, that seems like an awesome talent. But, to her Jr. High orchestra teacher, learning that Michelle played by ear was horrifying. She shouted, "'Michelle doesn't look at the music! She's playing aurally!" Michelle dutifully learned to read music. And happily so because now she can teach the violin. However, she does confess, "I don't like to practice. I don't like to play what's on the paper. I like to make up my own stuff."

As her church's youth coordinator, Michelle has organized and participated in some amazing hands-on activities. For example, she and her students underwent a 30-hour fast and, during that time, they served breakfast at the Central Wyoming Rescue Mission. "We could smell the food. It was hard."

Raised in Casper, Michelle loves the outdoors, backpacking, and the four seasons. And now, having spent time in China, she discovered another thing she loves about Casper. "The air. Because you can breathe it." It's not polluted. It doesn't make her sick.

Living healthy. Breathing free. What else could a person ask for? Thanks, Michelle, for sharing that knowledge with us... you teacher, you!

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