She inspires her students to do great things, to help those in need, and to never doubt that a single person can make a meaningful impact.
— Timothy Ryan, Wakefield High School, Class of 2012, J.D. Candidate at The George Washington University Law School
Michelle is the type of educator who makes you a better teacher by her influence. I strongly believe that I am better because of my years of working alongside her as a colleague.
— Jessica Baker, Assistant Principal, Arlington Career Center
When students struggle because of cultural barriers, home life, or limited English skills, Michelle does not work to change her students. Instead she works to change her understanding of them and attempts to see her class through their eyes.
— Ashley Senior, Teacher, Annandale High School
Ms. Cottrell-Williams is a dynamic educator who focuses on student learning.
— Chris Willmore, Ed.D., Principal, Wakefield High School

Student Voices

As a student when I step into her classroom I know it’s a safe space, because she’s made it that way. Ms. Cottrell-Williams not only cares about how we’re doing in her class but about each individual student and their well being.
— Vessy Robles, Class of 2018
Through her class, I learned about the contradictions in life, that it’s okay to be different and okay not to be okay and the world can even exist upside down. She is a person who changed the way I see the world and I’m lucky to have met her.
— Phuong Anh Le Nguyen, Class of 2019
Although there are many students who struggle with language, she always finds a solution for us to understand. I can see Ms. Cottrell really loves her job teaching because she has a connection with us that makes it easy for us to work and learn.
— Jose Choque, Class of 2020
She is able to, so so well, embrace and exploit all of our best selves by getting to know us and treating us students like friends. It truly is an “experience.” Ms. Cottrell’s class is like nothing that I’ve ever taken.
— Alistair Watson, Class of 2018