Alumna Shearer, nation’s top teacher addresses future educators of the deaf

July 13, 2011

Since her naming in May as the 2011 National Teacher of the Year, Michelle Meredith Shearer, M.S. ’96, is using her voice to advocate for the teaching profession and public education. Her itinerary finds her traveling from Baltimore’s Camden Yards to Orlando, Fla, and even to Beijing, China. Fluent in American Sign Language, she returned to campus July 12 to meet with Deaf Education graduate program candidates where she thanked them for bringing her home.

Shearer, a high school chemistry teacher at Urbana High School in Frederick, Md., was chosen by the Council of Chief State School Officers for her passionate and dynamic teaching ability and honored by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony held May 3.

During her speech, titled “Teaching, Learning, and the Human Factor,” she emphasized the importance of learning to teach for all students, including minority students, English language learners, students in poverty and students with special needs.

Shearer cited our national vision of high quality public education for every child, and discussed the significance of increasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education in elementary instruction.

Graduate student Casey Harris was excited to learn from Shearer about better teaching methods. She recently flew back to the states from Okinawa, Japan, where she had the opportunity to learn about people who are deaf in different parts of the world while her husband was working for the Department of Defense. After finishing up one last class for the program, she will return to Japan to observe in a deaf school and meet with parents and educators there.

Noel Cain, taking his first class in Deaf Education, came to Maryland from southern California to learn more about the graduate program. “This [speech] definitely helps me set up a model to become a good teacher,” says Cain of his hopes to teach high school and college students.

“We are so honored and grateful for this very special visit today,” said Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Henry Reiff.  “She is one of us, and shows us that graduates from the Deaf Education program here at McDaniel can go on to be National Teachers of the Year. I challenge you to not let her be the only one.”

Shearer will be the featured guest October 1 for the SmartTALK series with President Roger Casey.

The Master of Science graduate program in Deaf Education was created in 1967 as a joint effort between McDaniel College and the Maryland School for the Deaf. Its mission is to prepare outstanding teachers of students who are deaf from a bilingual perspective that promotes acceptance and respect for the language and culture of people who are deaf. The program offers Elementary/Secondary certification for teachers of students who are deaf, as well as ASL Specialist and Literacy Specialist programs.