May 3, 2001

National Teacher of the Year Michele Forman to receive honorary degree at Middlebury College commencement


MIDDLEBURY, Vt.--Michele Forman, the 2001 National Teacher of the Year and a social studies teacher at Middlebury Union High School (MUHS), will receive an honorary Doctor of Education degree at Middlebury College's graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 27. Seven other distinguished individuals, including the commencement speaker Fred Rogers, creator and host of the PBS children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," will also receive honorary degrees.

Forman was named National Teacher of the Year on April 23 when she was recognized by President Bush at a White House ceremony. She is the first Vermont educator to receive this honor from the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic Inc., the sponsors of the program. Initially chosen as Teacher of the Year for the state of Vermont, Forman went on to become one of four state finalists before being named the 51st National Teacher of the Year.

"Michele Forman has the respect and admiration of her students, their parents, and her many colleagues and friends, and now she has the respect of the nation as well. Those of us at Middlebury College can only be inspired by her creativity, her dedication to life-long learning, and her high expectations for all her students regardless of their ability level," said John M. McCardell, Jr., president of Middlebury College.

Forman studied Arabic for three consecutive summers from 1997-1999 at the Middlebury College Language Schools. Four years ago, she began teaching an Arabic course at MUHS that met before school. Twenty students are currently enrolled in the class, which has become an institution at the school. Forman is also committed to extracurricular activities, advising the Student Coalition on Human Rights, which she and a group of students started 12 years ago, and the school's model United Nations. She has taught at MUHS for 15 years.

"The scholarship funds that I received from the Middlebury College Arabic Language School each year I attended were a great gift to me, my students and the community. I wouldn't have been able to reach my current advanced level of Arabic without the College. Also, almost every year since I've been teaching at MUHS, I have had students from the College's teacher education program as well as numerous interns from the College in my classroom. Their presence has greatly enriched the education of my students. These are just two ways that the College has been very supportive of the high school," said Forman.

She holds a bachelor's degree in history from Brandeis University and a master's degree in teaching from the University of Vermont. She has 60 graduate credits beyond her master's and regularly serves on state and national committees in her field. Forman has also served as a Peace Corps volunteer and an alcohol and drug education curriculum specialist for the Vermont Department of Education.