BAKER, W.Va. – Hardy County member Michelle Wolfe is the first in the nation to receive $25,000 for the Milken Educator Award this school year. “I had no idea it was going to happen, but I’m very grateful,” said Wolfe. She is an English teacher at East Hardy High School. Wolfe was surprised in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday morning for what she thought was an assembly about mental health. “Superintendent (Clayton) Burch started talking about one caring educator and he introduced a representative from the Milken Educators Family Foundation. I realized it was not about our social/emotional program anymore,” said Wolfe.
The COVID-19 crisis has changed how she communicates with her students. “Teaching during this time has really mean’t being able to adjust and be flexible, but most importantly to pay attention to what the students are needing in this moment and try to be responsive to that,” she said. Her passion for teaching her students how to write is very personal.
“When a student figures out that they have something important to say and that their experiences are an important part of the writing process, they’re valid and that they have a perspective that’s going to matter to other people, that’s the moment when teaching writing becomes an absolute joy,” she said. Most of all, Wolfe wants to do the award justice. “It’s a honor to be recognized, but I definitely want to live up to that honor and I want to make sure that I’m celebrating other folks along the way,” she said.