EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 17, 2013

Shaheen honors Salem teacher

Lessons learned at sea could be useful in Congress

SALEM — Maybe members of Congress should learn a few lessons in teamwork from Woodbury School teacher Michele Brustolon.

That’s what U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., did.

Shaheen stopped by Brustolon’s eighth-grade science class yesterday morning to visit the veteran teacher and her students. The former governor walked away impressed.

Shaheen wanted to meet Brustolon after hearing she was only one of three teachers from across the country chosen to give a presentation last month at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

“I was really impressed to see them honor Ms. Brustolon,” she said. “I really wanted to come down and find out what things she is teaching you in class.”

Brustolon, chosen from approximately 300 teachers, was invited to Washington, D.C.. by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to talk about her experiences as a participant in its Teacher at Sea program.

“It seemed like she became a big celebrity overnight,” said student Jacob Attarian, 13.

In 2010, Brustolon spent three weeks aboard the research vessel, Oscar Dyson, studying walleye pollock in the East Bering Sea off Alaska. She worked 12-hour days, researching the health of the pollock population, a key component of the fishing industry.

“This particular fish we need to watch how much we are fishing because it is used so much,” Brustolon said.

It was an experience that had a big impact on the nine-year Woodbury teacher, who was most impressed by the teamwork on the 39-passenger ship.

It was those lessons in teamwork that she brought back to the classroom, telling her students — and Shaheen — how everyone on the ship pitched in to accomplish their mission. Whether they were crew members, researchers, engineers or cooks, they came together as one to get the job done, Brustolon said.

“It was just neat to see how everyone worked together,” she said

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