MAUMELLE — Maumelle High School business teacher Michelle Camp has been an educator for just 14 years, but her list of honors is long.
The most recent is being named 2018 Educator of the Year in January by the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Obviously, it’s very humbling,” Camp said. “I just know of all the teachers at our school who are doing so much.”
Camp takes the admonition “show, don’t tell” to heart. She works with businesses in the community in partnerships to help her students.
Their latest endeavor is Maumelle Mug, a coffee shop opened last week in the Maumelle High School Library, made possible in part by a $38,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Career Education.
“It is the cutest little coffee shop. We bought a $20,000 cart, and it is fancy. We’re partnering with Westrock [Coffee], also in Maumelle. That’s a cool partnership for the kids,” Camp said.
“Our next venture is to also do a T-shirt-printing shop,” she said. “We used about $10,000 to buy a printer and heat press. That way, students who maybe aren’t interested in food service but design — they have a creative outlet as well.”
She said the plan is to get that business underway in the spring.
Maumelle High School senior David Sanders said he is taking the small-business operations class from Camp and is involved with the coffee shop.
“It’s my first time having her for a class. I heard so much good stuff about her; she’s awesome,” Sanders said. “She’s very outgoing. She has great ideas; she connects with us. She acts like us in a good way; she’s a student, but at the same time, she’s a teacher. Not all teachers can connect with the students.”
He said the Westrock
Coffee representative has been helpful.
“We made our drink [names] off things in Maumelle. One of our coffees is called The Willie — we have Lake Willastein that everybody loves to go to and hang out,” he said.
Senior Scout Gore, 17, will be an employee of the coffee shop before school.
“I just started drinking coffee this year, but I really like it. I’m interested in trying all the different types and flavors,” she said.
“I’ve learned the point-of-sale system. We were trained by Westrock Coffee by making frappes and using the machinery they donated. They donated all of it, which was very kind,” she said.
Gore is also in Camp’s small-business operations class and was happy to hear of Camp’s honor.
“Mrs. Camp is a very dedicated teacher; she has always helped us with all of our work. She is so inspiring and very encouraging inside and outside the classroom,” Gore said, adding that Camp is dedicated to the DECA Club, too.
“She’s always super innovative,” Gore said.
Sanders said although he has been working on his welding skills, he may pursue a business degree in college.
“She made me want to major in business,” he said of Camp. “I never thought business would be so fun.”
In addition to teaching business and marketing, Camp is sponsor of DECA, an association of marketing students, and oversees the DECA student work program in which students leave work early and get school credit for time at work.
“It gives me an opportunity to work with lots of businesses in the community,” she said.
Camp said she has worked with Alicia Gillen, executive director of the chamber, in various capacities. Camp takes students to the chamber’s senior business luncheons, and the students are paired with industry leaders to participate in dialogue and to learn.
Also, Camp has served on a chamber educational committee.
Camp grew up in Maumelle before it was Maumelle.
“I’ve lived on the same street my whole life,” she said.
Maumelle was founded in 1974 and incorporated in 1985.
She earned her business-education degree at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and her first job was at Oak Grove High School in North Little Rock, where she went to high school. Oak Grove was replaced by Maumelle High School in 2011.
“I got to teach with a lot of my old teachers, and that was fun. I was spoiled,” she said, laughing.
She taught at Oak Grove for two years before taking a position at Maumelle Middle School when it opened in the 2005-06 school year.
“Then my high school marketing teacher retired and called me and asked me to come and take that position,” Camp said.
“I loved my middle school kids,” Camp said, but she couldn’t turn down an opportunity to go to Oak Grove High School.
Camp was there three years; then Maumelle High School opened in 2011 to replace Oak Grove. “We all just moved over,” she said.
Even though she’s a business teacher, she’s not all business.
“I’m a performer; I like to make the kids laugh,” she said.“I’m definitely a motivator.”
Her teaching approach has resulted in other honors for her, too.
Camp was named DECA Marketing Teacher of the Year in 2015 and the Arkansas Association of Career and Technical Educators Teacher of the Year in 2017. She was also named a National Fellow of the Arkansas Association of Career and Technical Educators, and she is president-elect of the organization.
“I love career-tech education,” she said. “I would really like to be a career and technical-education coordinator for the district.”
The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce award is validation of her work, she said.
“It’s nice to get the recognition. With being a teacher, some days you’re just worn out. It makes you know people notice. … It’s extremely rewarding that my hard work is making a difference,” she said. “I have the best job in the school.”
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.