It means respect for my profession. The award means that all the extra time I give to my students and the hours I am willing to put into my craft are being acknowledged. It means that the labs, the tutoring, the re-teaching, and the words of encouragement that I give to students year-by-year are just as important now as they were then. It means receiving thanks and appreciation for a job that I gladly and happily do every day.

Michael Pope APO, AP | 7-12, Science, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Michael Pope has been an educator for more than 20 years and has spent the last 13 teaching eighth-grade science at Zama Middle High School in the Japan East School District. Previously, he taught for five years at Stephenson Middle School in Georgia and three years at Shirley Lanham Elementary School in Atsugi, Japan. Michael's passion for teaching goes beyond the classroom. He has engaged in a fellowship to Colombia to examine STEM teaching between genders and has been awarded a National Education Association Foundation Fellowship to South Africa. After returning from his experience in Colombia, Michael established an online platform to connect classrooms in his school and in Colombia with language and cultural exchange opportunities. During a recent course to obtain National Geographic Certification, Michael linked science inquiry, geographical skills, and the teaching of empathy to food insecurity, import/export, and the United Nations' Zero Hunger Sustainability goal into his curriculum - leading to a student service project collecting food for the local Japanese community. Michael earned a B.S.E. in middle school education from Georgia State University and a M.Ed. from Brenau University. He is certified in middle school social studies, science, mathematics, and gifted education and is certified in Japanese studies.