LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michelle Burke

Position: Software / App Design Teacher
School: Lake Havasu High School
School District: Lake Havasu Unified School District
City, State: Lake Havasu City, AZ

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Music that Describes Michelle

Michelle Burke was nominated by her colleague, Kristal Norman.

Prepared, organized, and flexible are just three words that come to mind when one thinks of Ms. Burke. Not only has this been a rough year for everyone, but it's been a rough three years for Ms. Burke.

Three years ago, she returned to the classroom into a position she was not comfortable or familiar with. After her district made some big staffing changes, she was left with the choice of either no job or a position like this. With little to no training in the field of coding, she set off to learn everything she could about it. Additionally, she had to take over a program that had been struggling for the last five years with new teacher after new teacher. She has thrived, however, and so have her students. The program is growing, and students are enjoying the class again once more.

"What makes Michelle a LifeChanger is...her ability to plan ahead and foresee the hurdles ahead," said Norman. "I often receive these emails from her that she calls 'books.' As the department chair, she looks to me to for guidance and help, but she is often so far ahead of the game that I end up learning from her. She has helped this department through the muddy waters of online to hybrid learning. Additionally, she has helped the entire school by teaching others how to use Google Classroom and mentoring them in almost any tech difficulties they may have. She's not afraid to ask the tough questions to get us through this time."

"Lastly, she may not describe herself as flexible, but she has rolled with every punch thrown at her," said Norman. "She always puts her best foot forward, acts professionally, and implements the plan. She has been a true leader through all of this, and I value that about her."

Comments (18)

Gail Malay Posted 3 months ago

Michelle is very deserving of being a nominee forLifeChanger of the Year. For many years Michelle was the instructional technologist for Lake Havasu Unified School District. In that role she helped the school district implement blended learning, deal with privacy policies and coached many teachers in successfully implementing technology in their classroom. As a lifelong learner, Michelle kept current with all the ongoing changes in technology. When she was asked to teach coding she rose to this new challenge by seeking out mentors, networking, establishing weekly goals and working extremely hard to provide students with the best education possible. Her students highly respect her and have gotten good results from her instruction. Michelle understands the importance of the human connection and relationships. She is an excellent role model to both students and staff. Thank you Michelle for all you do each and every day!

Stacy Ravnikar Posted 3 months ago

Michelle takes on any challenge that is presented to her and heeds forth with full speed! She presents herself as a proactive individual, professional and persistent! I’m so proud to call her my sister!

Marcia Ravnikar Posted 3 months ago

I am so proud of my daughter. She had to leave her instructional technologist job which she loved and was very accomplished at to re-enter the classroom (which was not the problem). The problem was teaching a subject she had no knowledge or experience with. It was very difficult (her mother is allowed to say that) and she spent hours way above and beyond the school day to learn the new curriculum and make it fun, challenging, and interesting for her students. Michelle sets very high standards for herself and continues to push herself to be the best coding teacher she can be. Lake Havasu is lucky to have her as a member of their faculty.

Joyce Osborn Posted 3 months ago

There is so much that I can say about Michelle, a beautiful person inside and out, and a person I have watched grow, mature, and thrive since a small little girl. The Lake Havasu District is so lucky to have her on staff, and she will always give more than 100%, work hard to give the kids the best that she is capable of, and will work well with her colleagues. So deserving of this nomination and so proud to call her friend!

Amy Barney Posted 3 months ago

I just got another confirmation but of why you are a Life Changer. An online student’s mom told me that you called her and explained how you will be helping her transition to on-site next semester. You eased her anxiety and made her excited to come to LHHS! Thank you for being a difference maker in her life.

Laura Denny Posted 4 months ago

Michelle is professional, knowledgeable, tech savvy and always willing to help Michelle is resourceful and has great social skills One of her greatest assets is that she’s always willing to share her knowledge and materials with others She wants everyone to benefit, which is a rare quality I feel fortunate and grateful to work with someone of her caliber and I consider her a friend Michelle’s life changer qualities is her ability to overcome any challenges that come her way Michelle was given the task of developing a new curriculum with little time to prepare She used her critical thinking skills, positive attitude and initiative to start her extensive and thorough research, networking, attending webinars, which involved many hours of her personal time The end result is that she has a well organized successful program that continues to flourish. Coding skills are in high demand in the workforce today Michelle is an asset to the Career Technical Education program and is management material

Ali Porosky Posted 4 months ago

You are so deserving of this Michelle!!! So glad to have you as a friend and co-worker!

Brian Ulmer Posted 4 months ago

I have known Michelle for several years now. Michelle is not only a great teacher, but a great mentor, and an even better person. I feel honored to be able to take on my first official year teaching with Michelle as my mentor. During the most stressful and chaotic of times, Michelle will be right there with a positive twist or outlook to present. She is beyond deserving of this!

Athena C Posted 4 months ago

Michelle is a true asset to our district! While I miss her trainings, I'm so excited to hear about all she is doing for our students now!

Chessa Frei Posted 4 months ago

Michelle has always been an inspiration to me, going well-above any expectations. She is thorough and diligent gathering the information and teaching herself whatever skills she will need to adapt to a new and ever-changing educational landscape. She always manages to keep a smile on her face and raise others up even when she is dealing with insurmountable challenges. You truly are a life-changer, Michelle, and I'm so glad to have you in my corner. I also didn't realize my "woo hoo" comment would end up on here! Ha! :)

Amy Wellington Hunt Posted 4 months ago

I have known Michelle since grade school and she has always had such a positive attitude, lending hand type of demeanor. She definitely is truly an all around great person. Im glad her positivity, confidence, and continued willingness to learn and grow in any situation has been recognized. Sincerely, Amy Wellington Hunt

Nicole Brown Posted 4 months ago

Michelle has always been there to help with any tech questions, always approachable and positive!

Stefani Chase Posted 4 months ago

Yay! You are awesome sauce, Michelle! We lovu to pieces!

Chiara Inglese Posted 4 months ago

You are SO deserving of this Michelle!!! A parent of one of your students literally cried at the IEP meeting of how HAPPY she was because her son is doing so well in your class all while being in Distance Learning :) You have never let the rotten banana you were given take away from doing the absolute best job for the students. You are a problem solver and we appreciate you so much!!!

Chessa Frei Posted 4 months ago

Woo hoo! Love this!!! :)

Don Miller Posted 4 months ago

Michelle is a great asset to Lake Havasu High School. I have attended many professional development sessions that she has taught. Michelle has a calming affect on people. Her ability to understand what you don't understand and provide you with a path or solution that you really get is what draws me to her as a professional resource. Michelle always presents herself as a professional, friendly, accessible and knowledgeable colleague. Nobody can be that happy all the time, but she carries herself in a way that makes you believe that she is. I have found that her laugh and welcoming smile put you at ease and help open the door to learning. Again, Michelle is a great asset to our school and our department. It is a treat to have her as a friend and colleague.

Sam Brindis Posted 4 months ago

You deserve this Michelle!!!

Marsha Becker Posted 4 months ago

Michelle has had huge success with getting students through their Software Development, industry certification. Earning this certificate makes them employable in their career and technical education field before they even graduate high school. Last year she worked with nine students so they could earn their Microsoft Technical Associates certificates, from home and during a Covid-19 quarantine! This is life changing for our students! She goes above and beyond to ensure each and every student has a chance to be successful in her software development program.