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Michelle Pogliano

Westerman Preschool and Family Center

Director of Early Childhood Programs/Principal

Number of Years Teaching:
Speech Language Pathologist for 11 years; Administration for 10 years

Different Grades that you have taught:
I have always worked in early childhood, birth to fives years.

How did you know that you wanted to teach early learners:
As I entered college I was drawn to psychology and the development of young children, as well as what atypical development looks like.  This interest is what led me to explore the options available in special education.  Speech Language Pathology intrigued me most based on my interest in brain development, anatomy and physiology, as well as growth and development of young children.  How young children learn and develop language is fascinating to me.  During my program, I completed my clinical internship at the Preschool and Family Center in Ann Arbor Public School as a graduate student and knew immediately that this is where I wanted to work.  Leadership was not something I had any intent in pursuing, but I was approached by the Principal at the time and asked to apply for a new Assistant Principal position.  The things that originally impressed me about this program continue to impress me every day.  I enjoy watching teaching and learning in action every day.  Watching teacher-child interactions for those critical components of teaching, like teachers providing feedback that guide a child to discover new understanding, is so exciting, and fascinating to me.  I also really enjoy reflective conversations with teachers where the teacher can really see the things they do to engage children in learning and then begin to think about what else can happen to move children even further.

What are a few “non-negotiables” of your early learning classroom (kinda your educational philosophy)?:
I believe that one of the most important things we can do as educators and leaders is reflection and evaluation.  We need to continually evaluate what it is we are doing for children and families and how effective we are.  This occurs at the instructional level in the classroom and at the program level.  Examining the learning environment, the structures, processes, and practices that we put in place for kids and families provides us with valuable information to inform our next steps.  We have to be able to identify when change is needed and then be able to implement change effectively, which is not always an easy task, especially on a more programmatic level.  We must strive for a culture of high expectations for all kids (and families) and then provide the environment that supports those expectations.

What is something that you want us to know about you as a teacher of young children?:

Anything else you would like your viewers to know?: