Midland native named online teacher of the year 2022

ByMike V. Cooper

Sep 11, 2022

A Midland native was recently recognized by a Michigan education nonprofit as their best online teacher.

Oxford resident and Midland native Maria Wolbert was named the 2022 Online Teacher of the Year by Michigan Virtual in late August, an award given to an online instructor who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and had a positive impact on the students. This award cements his continuation of a family legacy of education.

Since the awards’ inception in 2009, Michigan Virtual President and CEO Jamey Fitzpatrick has honored 16 teachers with the nonprofit’s Online Teacher of the Year award.

“Given the growing importance of online education, Wolbert’s experience and technical knowledge allows him to always think of ways to improve the virtual learning environment,” said Fitzpatrick. “From Maria’s appointment letters, it was clear that she was looking to create an innovative learning environment that aligns with Michigan Virtual’s mission. She most deserves the Online Teacher of the Year award.

Wolbert, who has worked for Michigan Virtual since 2018 and teaches web development, business, IT, careers and studies, has received several letters of support. Among them, Wolbert was hailed as a “committed advocate for her students” by Kevin Santer, a CTE lead instructor, who went on to explain how she “spends an amazing time meeting with students, providing detailed feedback on assignments and develop rich support resources.

His father, Midland resident Pete Conarty, said Wolbert grew up in Midland and graduated from Midland High School. Conarty was a teacher himself, along with Wolbert’s sister, Suzanne.

“(She) followed the list of several teachers in the family,” Conarty said. “It’s wonderful and (I’m) very proud of her.”

Wolbert has taught in many school districts and grade levels, beginning her career in 1986. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Michigan and her Masters in Career and Technical Education from Wayne State University. Wolbert has been a member of numerous professional organizations, most recently serving as president of the K9 Stray Rescue League. She received Michigan Virtual’s Commitment Award in 2018.

To be selected for the Teacher of the Year award, key criteria include positive impact on students, continuous improvement in practice, and a vision for the future of online education. This distinguished award was created to set a bar of excellence and recognize incredible teachers in the digital learning community.