2022 Recipients


Maumee Valley Country Day School

Michelle Thomas is the Head of Lower School at Maumee Valley Country Day School. Prior to joining Maumee Valley Country Day School in 2018, Thomas traveled through Australia as a People-to-People Student Ambassador, worked in high-poverty schools in Colorado, and taught at the International School of Amsterdam where she experienced the Forest School. She has implemented a Forest School inspired program at MVCDS enabling students to actively learn, play and grow outside for up to three hours a day.

At MVCDS she has cultivated community partnerships with Lucas County Children’s Services, Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful, Food for Thought, Family House, and Ohio Living Swan Creek. She works with Groundworks Ohio to educate key policymakers in Ohio about the importance of I quality early learning and development.  Thomas teaches a course in Communication Development in Young Children at Bowling Green State University.

Thomas was the 2014 Educator of the Year at Eagle County Schools in Colorado. She became a certified nature-based educator in 2021. She has advocated for Forest School teaching before the Ohio chapter of the Afterschool Alliance and recently attended the National Association of Independent Schools’ Diversity Leadership Institute in Washington D. C.

A graduate of BGSU with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, she received certification in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education from Regis University.

Michelle Thomas