Michelle Reed teaches math at Doolen Middle School. She has been doing so for nine years after pursuing a different field.
“I am a second career teacher,” says Reed. She spent over 18 years working as an engineer. She made the move because, she says, “I was spending all my vacation time volunteering in the classroom.”
“Both of my parents were engineers,” says Reed. “My mom was actually the first woman engineering graduate in mechanical engineering at the UofA, so (a love of math and science) came in the family,” she explains.
Reed was born and raised in Tucson. She spent many years away for her job, working on remote sensing instrumentation and other engineering challenges. She’s happy to be back and happy to return to Doolen—she was once a student there!
“I love being in the classroom with kids. It’s so much fun,” Reed says. She says she especially enjoys it when a student has an “I get it!” moment.
“Mrs. Reed makes the class just the right amount of challenging and fun....If math is too hard, students are miserable. If math is too easy, students are bored. It is amazing to have a teacher like Mrs. Reed who teaches at just the right level,” writes student Helene.
“One of the best things about Mrs. Reed is that she really loves her subject and is excited about teaching us, which makes her students excited about learning,” Helene adds. She is “one of those special teachers who has inspired me to love math.”
Reed says she loves to find math in everyday things and bring that into her lessons. She’s a huge Star Trek fan, and admits, “I bring a lot of Star Trek into the classroom.”
She has seen a lot of changes from the time her mom was one of two women in the college of engineering, to when she attended and was still in the minority. “I see a lot more acceptance” and a “much different attitude” about girls who are interested in math and science careers, she says.
Reed’s advice for students is to “Never give up. Things aren’t always going to come easy, but it’s your ability to push beyond the difficult pieces to reach your goals...that get you to where you need and want to go,” she says. “And have some fun along the way.”