Michelle Wolfenbarger

Director of LIN


Michelle has served in various roles in education in the state of Tennessee since 2001, most recently as principal of a K-5 elementary school in Knox County. She is a certified cognitive coach and has experience in various types of school communities.

Michelle began her work as a classroom teacher of grades 4, 5, and 6 in Knox County, Tennessee. In addition to her 11 years in the classroom, Michelle served as an instructional coach, TAP master teacher, leadership academy fellow, assistant principal, and principal.

Michelle earned bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education as well as an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

 Michelle  Wolfenbarger

Why are you passionate about working at NIET?

I am passionate about working at NIET because I experienced the power of the work firsthand as a teacher in a TAP school years ago. I recognized the emphasis on reflective culture and collaborative learning especially, and used the knowledge gained in that experience to improve my craft. NIET made a difference in my life as a teacher, and continues to impact me today.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

In school I loved any subject that dealt with the written word. Words are powerful! I enjoyed discovering personal connections with books, poetry, lyrics, essays, etc. I still search for perfect quotes when I wish to inspire others.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my family, especially if it involves any sort of adventure! We often can be found on OCR [Obstacle Course Racing] courses, hiking in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, running in races to benefit local charities, or traveling to various places. I believe the best life is a balanced life, so I intentionally strive for balance physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.