USF alumna Michelle (Pray) Boroff named NACS Teacher of the Year

August 4, 2021

Michelle (Pray) Boroff (BS ’02, MS ’06) ran through a gamut of emotions after she was named one of Northwest Allen County Schools’ Teachers of the Year.

Boroff teaches sixth grade math at Maple Creek Middle School, her home for the last four years after 15 years with Fort Wayne Community Schools.

“I was completely shocked; I did not see it coming,” Boroff said. “When it was over and I had time to process, it sounds silly, but I almost felt guilty. This year, on top of everything else, every other teacher on the planet deserves this award. It was hard for me to understand how I was chosen over teachers doing so many amazing things. It was very humbling and surprising and awesome. I was in shock for a few days. Was that really me?”

Boroff credits the “amazing” team she works with at Maple Creek that banded together to effectively teach students during the pandemic, whether in person or remotely. Like other teachers, Boroff adjusted to teaching remotely when students were attending classes from home. In an odd twist, after students returned to the classroom, Boroff taught two weeks remotely because a member of her family contracted COVID-19.

“We had a substitute teacher in my room and his goal was to take attendance and crowd control,” Boroff said. “My students were amazing. One of the other teachers said, ‘You could hear a pin drop in your classroom.’ The kids were all engaged and doing their work.”

Nominations for the award are submitted by students, parents and other teachers, and voted on by an awards committee. Three other teachers also received the NACS award: Huntertown Elementary first grade teacher Jaima Garman, Perry Hill Elementary fifth grade teacher Beck Hauguel and Carroll High School chemistry teacher Maranda Kuhn.

Teacher of the Year candidates must receive an evaluation of “highly effective” or “mentor” to be considered for the award.

“We honor these four educators who have demonstrated their ability to reach students and help them excel in academics and in life,” NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel, Ph.D., said in a media release. “Great teachers inspire and challenge students to exceed even their own expectations and that is our goal for each student who joins the NACS family. We are fortunate to have many outstanding teachers worthy of such an honor, and we deeply appreciate their dedication.”

Boroff taught special education for nine years and English for two before teaching math.

“This is my favorite age group,” she said. “I’ve found myself in my dream job. I always wanted to teach sixth grade math.”

Boroff and her husband, Jon, have three young children: Jackson, Adalynn and Lucas.