English teacher Michelle Wolfe loves literature, poetry and writing, and she passes those passions on to her students. The teen writers at East Hardy High School in Baker, West Virginia, publish their work in curated anthologies, shine in writing competitions like the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy and the West Virginia Young Writers Contest, and perform original verse in Poetry Out Loud events. Wolfe teaches AP English Language, creative writing, sophomore and senior English. She ties projects and assignments to current events and real-world examples, encouraging students to share their work with peers. Teens write about their own lives and perspectives, comfortable tackling sensitive subjects in the trusted community Wolfe creates. She helps students find pride in their work and builds on each pupil’s individual strengths and needs. Always looking to expand the opportunities available to students, Wolfe got a master’s degree in 2021 specifically to teach a dual-credit college English course in partnership with nearby Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College. When she took over the class, enrollment more than doubled.
Wolfe is a popular choice for committee work because colleagues see her as an informed leader who makes solid decisions based on what will most benefit students. She serves on teams for school leadership, district curriculum and state ELA textbook selection, as well as East Hardy’s intervention-focused Student Assistance Team. Wolfe has written numerous grants to fund unique cultural experiences for students, who have attended live theater, hosted spoken word and dramatic performances, and visited museums in Washington, D.C. Wolfe also worked with the West Virginia Humanities Council to create the Hardy Portal Project, a technology-equipped standalone structure that connected students and community members with people all over the world, including Rwanda, Qatar, Afghanistan, Mexico, Nigeria, Germany, and several American cities.
Wolfe gets to know every student as a whole person, providing a base of stability, support and consistency. She sponsors the National Honor Society and is involved with the Hardy County Community Foundation, Lost River Projects and the American Woodmark Foundation, organizations her students work with on environmental and other community service projects. On social media, former students praise Wolfe in their post-secondary success stories for inspiring, encouraging and believing in them.
Wolfe earned a bachelor’s in secondary education from Shepherd University in 2009 and a master’s in English from Grand Canyon University in 2021.
Press release: 2021-22 Milken Educator Awards Tour Launches in West Virginia, Honoring Michelle Wolfe of Baker with $25,000
"I hope that you guys consider being a teacher one day. Because being able to stand in a classroom and get to know kids, and get to..." (read more)