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A Middlebury, Vt., high school social studies teacher was honored as the 2001 National Teacher of the Year last week at a ceremony at the White House.

Michele Forman, 55, a teacher at Middlebury High School, was recognized by President Bush and U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige for her passion for teaching. She is the award's 51st recipient—and the first Vermont educator to be honored.

Ms. Forman was chosen by a committee representing national education organizations. She was among 56 candidates for the award, all of whom were teachers of the year from other states and U.S. territories.

At the April 23 ceremony, which honored the other candidates as well as Ms. Forman, Mr. Paige called teachers the "heroes of all our children."

In his remarks, President Bush, whose wife, Laura, is a former teacher, said "you can never thank a good teacher enough."

Mr. Bush expressed the nation's gratitude to all the teachers at the ceremony from the "bottom of our hearts."

In accepting the honor, Ms. Forman said "to be a teacher is to forever be an optimist, for every day we are in the presence of the enormous potential that each child holds."

Among other accomplishments, Ms. Forman started an Arabic course at her school that meets before the regular school day. She also started the school's Student Coalition on Human Rights. Each year, students in the coalition select human-rights issues on which to focus.

Ms. Forman lives in Salisbury, Vt., and is married and has three children.

As the National Teacher of the Year, Ms. Forman will spend a year traveling around the country and the world to promote her vision of good teaching and its importance.

—Vanessa Dea

Vol. 20, Issue 33, Page 2

Published in Print: May 2, 2001, as People in the News

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