A Westchester resident for eleven years and a Briarcliff resident for the last four and half, Michelle lives in the Tree Streets with her husband and three children. She has a BFA in Stage Management from The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and an MS from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry.
Michelle had an incredibly rewarding career as a stage manager, most notably on Jersey Boys. While working on Broadway, she attended Mercy College in preparation for a career in education. She observed educational practices in various public and private schools throughout Westchester and taught elementary school for five years in a nearby school district.
She is now working as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) at various schools around Westchester. Michelle loves spending time at Todd School volunteering and is a co-chair of the Author Committee. In her free time, she enjoys visiting museums, the animals at Stone Barns, historical sights, parks and the Briarcliff Library with her family.
What’s your favorite book?
It changes all the time, but right now, it’s Educated by Tara Westover. A fascinating and very well written memoir that left me reflecting on the power of education as well as all of the elements that go into the education of a person.
Favorite subject when you were in school?
Art! I always enjoyed learning about and trying new techniques. This helped immensely when I had to take drafting and rendering courses in college.
Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
My first grade teacher, Mrs. Uehlein, who inspired me to become a teacher myself. She was kind, caring and told the very best stories.
What’s the nicest thing a student has ever said to you?
Since I work with very young children, the best compliments tend to come in the form of hugs, fist bumps, and high fives. For me, that moment when a child figures out how to solve a problem on their own or with a friend, or the moment when a new concept just makes sense is better than any compliment. Those moments are priceless.
Three school supplies you can’t teach without — go!
Number one, a ball! Tossing and catching a ball while learning lightens the mood and gets us up and moving. Two, a good pencil sharpener. I never expected that a sharpener that works with colored pencils and has an automatic stop would have such an impact on my life — total time saver! Last, a speaker for playing music. Music is everything! Whether high energy or relaxing, I find it can help set or change the atmosphere and help with focus.
What inspired you to become an educator?
The kids! I truly believe that their instincts for creative thinking and problem solving are incredible. We as adults can learn so much from them.