2019 Armed Forces Insurance Navy Spouse of the Year
Michelle Norman, 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Navy Spouse of the Year, is a Navy wife of over 24 years and mother of a 16-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy and multiple other disabilities. After years of successfully fighting in schools and courts to ensure her daughter receives the minimum education required by law, she was contacted by multiple military families around the country dealing with similar problems in public schools. Seeing that so many children will benefit from her dedicated efforts, the Virginia Beach resident has become a passionate advocate for other military families with kids with special needs.
Norman enacted change through persistent engagement with Congress and Virginia legislators. She successfully pushed for a study on military children and special education in the National Defense Authorization Act 2020. The resulting report will give legislators the information needed to address gaps in education. Norman is raising awareness of education challenges faced by our military children through Congressional advocacy, including her participation in the 2019 Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit. Norman has been actively working with DoD to reform EFMP. She also continues to push for teaching parents about student’s educational rights.
Locally, Norman has enacted change by supporting bills that now help low income military families access an appropriate education. She co-founded the support group Parents for FAPE, participates as a member of the Virginia Department of Education’s Military Student Support Process Action Team, and continues to lobby for stronger military spouse participation in organizations that have significant impact on our children’s education.
Norman currently lives in Virginia Beach, VA, with her daughter and son, ages 16 and 10. Her husband Cassidy recently deployed overseas to serve as the Commanding Officer of the USS Mount Whitney. “My family believes strongly in doing the right thing, even when it is difficult. We are starting to make great progress for military families and it is my privilege to advocate and be a voice for our most vulnerable children,” she says.