Michele Turner -MPMS Teacher of the Year 2015Michele Turner is an extraordinary Art Teacher at Mount Pleasant Middle School who, every day, makes an impact on students and staff alike. Michele, a lateral entry teacher, whose former career as a graphic designer allowed her to use her talents, began teaching in 2006 as a way to help kids see the possibility of turning talent and a love for art into a fulfilling and enjoyable career. The attraction of teaching Middle School, for Michele, was that it was where she got her start. It was there that she saw teachers sharing the love of art and Michele’s students know that same love from their teacher.Michele’s favorite moments are when she sees a student use an art technique or concept after they originally said, “I can’t”. Her students agree, saying that Ms. Turner “pushes me out of my comfort zone to create art that I didn’t know I could do”. At the same time it is very clear when you enter Michele’s class that her students are not only allowed, but guided, to make their art their own. Students do not all work on the exact same product but use the techniques that Ms. Turner teaches them in creative ways to develop personal works of art. Ms. Turner’s Advanced Art students say that her passion for art inspires them. For many it is their favorite class of the day.Michele also has an impact on the staff at Mount Pleasant Middle School. One peer commented that, “Even though Michele Turner entered our school as a lateral entry teacher, her determination, devotion, and dedication have proven her to be a natural teacher at heart and at hand. Her quiet demeanor with all of her students serves her well as her love and enthusiasm for teaching art exudes in all areas of her life as a teacher and as a person. With Michele's own art displayed in Concord, Charlotte, and even as far as in museums in Africa, she is an excellent role model for inspiring artist, as well as just being a better student and person. She impacts students in a way that gets them to see themselves through the eyes of an artist, no matter their level of talent. She brings out the best in her students, and she molds them to be a better person by taking pride in their work and in themselves.”
Another teacher said of Michele that, “When peers consider candidates for the “Teacher of the Year”, we focus on teachers who develop students’ natural talents and prepare our learners with skills critical for their future. Ms. Turner’s compassionate approach to education exemplifies the impact she makes on Mt. Pleasant’s learners daily. She immediately earns student respect and emphasizes the importance of equality, generosity, and freedom of thought. These skills cannot be taught, simply acquired through an amazing role model.Ms. Turner has earned awards for her art, including an international travel grant, but her students and the staff at Mt. Pleasant Middle School agrees that her biggest impact is on the budding artists in our community.