Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Annual Teacher of the Year Award 2011


Michelle Marrero
2011 Michelle Marrero Freedom High School, Prince William County, Virginia

Originally from Puerto Rico, Michelle Marrero moved with her family to Alexandria, VA when she was in the sixth grade. Her mother is an ESOL teacher in Fairfax County. Marrero graduated from Mount Vernon High School and earned her bachelor’s degree at Interamerican University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Metropolitan University, both in Puerto Rico. Michelle was selected for the award based on her role in the achievement of ESOL students, parental involvement, mentoring and support of ESOL students.

Michelle has taught at Freedom High School for five years and co-chairs the ESOL Department, which according to her co-workers, she helped energize. “Within her first year, Michelle adapted an exemplary teaching style she brought from Puerto Rico, incorporating the demands of Virginia SOLs and ESOL teaching strategies. The level of creativity etched into each lesson was apparent as the students were guided through Power Points, video clips, interactive notebooks, and cooperative learning groups,” ESOL teacher Candice Francis.

Teaching philosophy

  • I look for tools to make the curriculum comprehensible and offer guidance and support.
  • I tell my students: don’t let anything stand in your way. You have the power to make all of your dreams come true.
  • I hold high expectations for them, encourage and them and help them fulfill those dreams.


  • Using a team-teaching support model for ESOL students, she and her colleagues are credited with raising the World History II SOL passing rate from 60% to 90%
  • Coordinator of Parents as Educational Partners Program (PEP), through which parent involvement has increased dramatically in recent years.
  • Mentors new teachers, promotes multicultural awareness, and serves as the ESOL on-site summer school coordinator.
  • Co-founded a College Cohort program;15 students accepted to college, one student benefitting from a total of $80,000 in scholarships
  • Key staff member in county ESOL Summer School program to keep students on track to graduate on-time.

Photo Captions:
Photo 1
Michelle Marrero and her mother, Carmen Ivette Colon, ESOL teacher, Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria

Photo 2
(l-r) MIchelle Marrero (middle), Cel Beltrain (Board Member) Leveo Sanchez (Board Member)