2018 KCPS Teacher of the Year Finalist

Sophomore English Teacher Michelle Muller

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Michelle Muller
Northeast High School
Sophomore English Teacher 

What motivated your career in education?
I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. My dad built a toy box in my bedroom when I was three years old. The front had sliding doors that happened to be chalkboards. He was one of my first students. Dad sat quietly, lined up with all of my stuffed animals facing the chalkboards. He listened intently as I carefully taught them my entire preschool curriculum. My dad graduated from my class around the time my little sister was old enough to start attending in his stead. By then, I had moved to elementary school and I ended up accidently teacher her how to read before she ever entered kindergarten.

I believe two of the primary reasons I was put on this earth are to nurture and to teach. I get to live this out at home with my own two children but I also feel like there is a calling on my life to do this professionally, which is why I chose to pursue a formal degree in education before I ever graduated from high school. I love transforming the inaccessible into the accessible. I see the limitless potential in people, and I live to encourage and build up and call into reality those things which seem like adventures too big to undertake. I thrive in environments where I get to interact with people and where I get to pour my life into something bigger than myself.

What message about public education do you want to share?
Life can be a terribly dark, difficult, lonely place but I believe children can access hope in the classroom. I believe a single teacher can change the trajectory of a child’s entire life through patience and determination and truth and grace and selfless, tough love. I don’t believe there is a single child who is too far gone to be reached, and I believe it is my calling to take hold of as many as possible, and pull them into the light with me. Education literally opens up entire worlds to children. Education creates humans who are strong enough to hope and dream and question an create an wonder and thrive in the face of absolute despair. Education teaches children they are infinitely more capable than they ever give themselves credit for, and that great things are possible if they are willing to persevere and work hard.

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