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Maryland Chemistry Teacher Wins National Honor

Michelle Shearer, a chemistry teacher in Ijamsville, Md., will be honored at a White House ceremony tomorrow as the 2011 National Teacher of the Year.

"Teaching science is my life's work," Shearer told the Frederick News-Post newspaper. "This is overwhelming but exciting. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm going to make the most of it."

She'll be joined by President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as well as state teachers of the year from around the country.

The newspaper story explains that the honor bestowed on Shearer will take her out of the classroom for a year to make appearances around the country, advocating for public education through speeches, presentations, and other activities.

Shearer currently teaches AP chemistry at Urbana High School in Maryland's Frederick County school district. Previously, she taught high school chemistry and mathematics at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, according to a press release from the Council of Chief State School Officers, which oversees the National Teacher of the Year program.

"Michelle believes passionately in her students, and works tirelessly to help each of them to achieve at their highest possible level, making her an outstanding choice for this honor," said Maryland state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick in the press release.

A committee of representatives from 14 national education groups chose the 2011 National Teacher of the Year, according to the CCSSO. State teachers of the year are selected based on nominations by students, teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the states. Applications are then submitted to the Council of Chief State School Officers, and a national panel reviews the data on each state candidate and selects the four finalists. The selection committee then personally interviews each finalist before naming the National Teacher of the Year.

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