Oxford teacher named 2022 online teacher of the year

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Versions of this article were also published in the Oakland Press on September 5, 2022, and in the Midland Daily News on September 11, 2022.

OXFORD, Mich. – Maria Wolbert of Oxford, Mich. was named Michigan Virtual’s 2022 Online Teacher of the Year – an award given to an online instructor who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and positively impacted students.

Since the inception of the awards in 2009, Michigan Virtual President and CEO Jamey Fitzpatrick has honored 16 teachers with the distinction of Michigan Virtual Online Teacher of the Year.

“Given the increasing importance of online education, Maria’s experience and technical background allow her to always be thinking about ways to improve the virtual learning environment,” said Fitzpatrick. “From Maria’s nomination letters, it was clear she seeks to create an innovative learning environment that aligns with Michigan Virtual’s mission. She is most deserving of the Online Teacher of the Year Award.”

Wolbert, who has been with Michigan Virtual since 2018 and teaches web development, business, IT, careers, and study skills, received several letters of support. Among them, Wolbert was praised as an “engaged advocate for her students” by Kevin Santer, a lead CTE instructor, who went on to share how she “spends an extraordinary amount of time meeting with students, providing detailed feedback on assignments and developing rich supporting resources.”

Another colleague, Cheri Sclater, said the knowledge and resources Wolbert shared were instrumental to Sclater’s success. Sclater wrote, “The details she provides within teacher feed posts to my questions and her willingness to help make her a superstar and an invaluable asset to Michigan Virtual!

Wolbert has taught across many school districts and as many grades, first beginning her career in 1986. She received her Bachelor of Science in education from Central Michigan and her master’s degree in career and technical education from Wayne State University. Wolbert has been a member of numerous professional organizations, most recently serving as president of the K9 Stray Rescue League. She received Michigan Virtual’s Commitment Award in 2018.

To be selected for the Teacher of the Year distinction, key criteria include a positive impact on students, continuous improvement of practice, and a vision for the future of online education. This distinguished award was created to set a bar for excellence and recognize the incredible teachers in the digital learning community.

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

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