Teacher of the Year
Carrillo Ranch Elementary School
Desert Sands Unified School District
Despite three different deployments overseas as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, Michelle Cherland has never abandoned her roots as an educator who is committed to her country, her students, and being an ambassador of the teaching profession. Raised in a family of educators, Cherland’s focus on literacy and learning included reading Dr. Seuss books to children in the “field classrooms” of Iraq and Afghanistan. In her home classroom at Carrillo Ranch Elementary, Cherland describes teaching as “the toughest job you will ever love.” In 2010, she was awarded the Bronze Star for Heroism by the U.S. Army for her service in Afghanistan and recently retired from the Army Reserves with 24 years of honorable duty. In October, Michelle was selected by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, as one of five California State Teachers of the Year.