Tampa Bay Lightning November 2021 Teacher of the Month

Future GoalsTM Program

Tampa Bay Lightning logo

Tampa Bay Lightning November 2021 Teacher of the Month


Kelli Michael


Mulrennan Middle School; Hillsborough County

Classroom Team:

Tell us about yourself!

I started teaching in the fall of 1996. I started in Hyattsville Md at Nicholas Orem Middle teaching 8th grade science. In the summer of 1998, my husband and I moved to Brandon Florida. I got a position in Pasco County at San Antonio Elementary just outside of Dade City. I taught mainly 5th grade and at the time I taught all subjects. I taught at San Antonio for 4 years, then moved to Hillsborough County in 2002. I’ve taught at Alafia Elementary, Mintz Elementary, and Buckhorn Elementary. I taught all 5th grade (until my last 2 years at Buckhorn), and mainly math/science. In the summer of 2018 I made the move back to middle school. I am currently teaching 6th and 8th grade science at Mulrennan Middle School. This is my 4th year at Mulrennan.

While at the university I majored in Parks and Recreation because I loved outdoor science. But when I finished my degree, I was undecided on what to do. I went back to school and got my teaching degree in K-6 with a concentration in science. The rest is history, I’ve been teaching science ever since. I love science! I love new discoveries and innovations, I love that science is hands on and new learning happens everyday. What I love most about teaching science is those light-bulb moments when the kids just “get it”. The students are excited to come to class and try new things. Science is just cool.

Besides working with Everfi, I have worked with Odyssey of the Mind as a sponsor and team coach. I was involved with OM for over 10 years while my boys were in elementary and middle school. I have helped judge the Hillsborough County annual science fair competition at the convention center. I participate in Relay for Life every year with my school team. I helped sponsor student groups in the 2019 Southwest Water Management water tower competition. The competition helps bring awareness to water conservation in our Tampa Bay community.

Who is your favorite NHL® player and why?

Andrei Vasilevsky-The goalie is the heart of the team. He has the most important job on the ice.

What is your favorite part of the Future Goals™program? How do you see STEM in the game of hockey?

I have 2 favorite parts – one is the community connection. The students are more invested in the project because they are hockey fans and they love rooting for the Lightning. I asked them if they would still have loved the program if the Lightning were not the sponsors, some said yes because they still liked the hockey based activities and collecting the trophies. Most said they were more motivated to collect the trophies because of the Lightning connection. My second favorite part is the way the games were geared toward the scientific method. We just finished a unit on the nature of science, and this program works right in with real world examples. There is STEM in hockey. The games allowed the students to investigate and test types of sticks and how the stick is used as a lever with levels of force to put the puck into the goal. The kinetic and potential energy in the puck drop at face off. Vocabulary is imbedded throughout and gives the students the opportunity to practice without even realizing they are working hard.