UMS and the DTE Energy Foundation honor Secondary MAC alumna Rachel Bomphray as the 2020 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

November 07, 2020

The University Musical Society (UMS) and the DTE Energy Foundation announced Thurston High School English teacher Rachel Bomphray (AB ’07, AM ’14, TeachCert ’14) as the 2020 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year. The award recognizes and celebrates educators who value the importance of arts education and create a culture for the arts to flourish in their school communities. Bomphray is a 2014 graduate of the Secondary Master of Arts with Teacher Certification program. 

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“We are thrilled to honor Rachel Bomphray with the DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year Award and grateful to the DTE Energy Foundation for making it possible,” says UMS president Matthew VanBesien. “We could never stress enough the importance of fostering an understanding and appreciation for the arts throughout a child’s education. Rachel truly embodies this appreciation and passion, and it’s reflected in the enthusiasm of her students.”

Rachel Bomphray holding DTE Award


Bomphray has worked over the past four years to grow a poetry program at Thurston High School, working with U-M students through the International Poetry Guild project, connected to the Education 365 course taught by SOE Lecturer Eli Zemper. Using the creative arts as a catalyst, she organizes trips to the U-M campus where her students get to work on projects with U-M students, learn to attend performances with a critical eye, and imagine their future as college students.

“Rachel Bomphray is one of the most passionate, caring, and innovative teachers I have ever worked with,” says Zemper. “She knows that one of the most powerful ingredients in an effective, well-rounded education is creativity. She models it, her students practice it in their writing, and she goes to great lengths to expose students to the world-class talent offered through UMS. I can't think of a more deserving teacher for this award!”