Every student deserves to be continually awed and humbled by all there is to learn about our world, and we as teachers should provide exceptional educational opportunities for all students to explore and grow. We as educators pursue excellence in our field on behalf of our students who deserve the very best every day. To me, the Presidential Award represents a tremendous honor and wonderful opportunity to partner with great educators to learn how to be the best we can be for our students.

Michelle Dillard Centennial, CO | K-6, Mathematics, 2020

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Michelle Dillard has been an educator for 15 years and has taught all fifth grade subjects at Mark Twain Elementary School for the past eight. Previously, she taught at Thornton Elementary School. This coming year, she will be part of a team opening a new school, Dr. Justina Ford Elementary School, where she will teach fifth grade. Michelle believes every person can be a mathematics person and loves to find engaging pathways for all learners that lead to high levels of mathematics. In her classroom, she encourages students to try on ideas as “rough draft thinking,” develop growth mindsets as they add layers to their conceptual understandings, and model novel situations. She facilitates mathematics forums and congresses to increase student discourse. Her learners love utilizing problem strings to use what they know to solve what they don’t know yet and to model a variety of connected strategies. Michelle has served on district teams developing units of study, adopting and training others in curriculum, and acting as a model training classroom. She also served on a core team for her school’s transition to an International Baccalaureate school. She is trained in Add+Vantage Math Recovery to advance numeracy development for younger mathematicians and loves using this to help with interventions. She enjoys continually learning professionally as a member of the Colorado Council for Teachers of Mathematics. Michelle has a B.A., summa cum laude, in elementary education from Dallas Baptist University and an M.S., summa cum laude, in linguistically and culturally diverse education from Fort Hays State University. She has a Colorado Master Teacher certification in elementary education and English as a Second Language and is a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist.

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