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NEA Member Named 2008 National Teacher of the Year

Oregon Science Teacher Michael Geisen honored at White House ceremony


WASHINGTON - May 01, 2008 -

The 2008 National Teacher of the Year is known among his students and colleagues for his creativity and innovative teaching techniques.   NEA member Michael Geisen was honored as the National Teacher of the Year by President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony Wednesday. 

Geisen, a seventh grade science teacher at Crook County Middle School in Prineville, Ore., incorporates songs, games, art and humor into his teaching repertoire.  He will serve for one year as a full-time national and international spokesperson for education.

“On behalf of the entire NEA family, I want to congratulate Michael on being named National Teacher of the Year,” said NEA President Reg Weaver.  “Michael is a wonderful example of how teachers transform the lives of their students everyday, engaging them and creating enthusiasm for learning.  His extraordinary passion and never-ending quest to find captivating ways of teaching science have undoubtedly inspired his students to realize their potential and achieve their dreams.”

According to his students, Geisen makes science fun.  His unique teaching style has yielded impressive results in and out of the classroom. A class he taught on the deadly effects of microbes on children in developing countries motivated his students to raise money for Third World disease relief.  During his first two years as the science department chair at Crook County Middle School, test scores increased from 55 percent to 72 percent of students meeting or exceeding the state’s science benchmark. 

Aside from improving test scores and motivating his students to learn, Geisen is committed to improving elements of Crook County Middle School beyond the four walls of his classroom.  A rock-climbing enthusiast, he raised funds and collected donations to build a rock climbing wall and scenic mural to serve as a backdrop for students to enjoy.  He also teamed up with other teachers in the science department to create a wildlife garden, representing Oregon’s vegetation zones, in the school’s courtyard.  

“We are exceptionally proud to have one of our own chosen to receive this great honor,” said Oregon Education Association President Larry Wolf. “As a former middle school science teacher, I marvel at Michael’s imaginative approach to inspiring and cultivating young minds. He clearly understands the needs of his students and the role that we all play — educators, parents and the larger community — in helping students succeed in the classroom and in life. Michael will be a great ambassador on behalf of educators working wonders in Oregon and around our great nation.”

The National Teacher of the Year program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers and is sponsored by the ING Foundation. The program focuses public attention on teaching excellence and is the oldest and most prestigious award program for teachers.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Christiana Campos  (202) 822-7823