Macomb County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

A Macomb County educator known for adapting and overcoming challenges has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Molly DeBono, is a first-grade teacher at Erie Elementary School which is part of Chippewa Valley School District.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school, or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The news segment featuring DeBono will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

DeBono was inspired by her second-grade teacher to become an educator.

“Growing up, my family moved a lot. I attended about five different schools in five different states before 5th grade. It was not easy always being ‘the new student,’” said DeBono. “Every single teacher I had welcomed me with love and kindness.

“I remember my second-grade teacher specifically. We just moved to Connecticut and I was having an especially hard time adjusting. She gave me a job to take care of the class pet. I looked forward to this job each day. I felt a sense of belonging in the classroom because of this responsibility I was given. I moved at the end of that year and this teacher continued to write to me and stay in touch with me. I look back on each one of these teachers that all added something special to my life.

“It always amazed me that in such a short time, they were able to leave such a lasting imprint in my life. I knew that I wanted to pay it forward and be that person to my future students.”

She said her students are her favorite part of being an educator.

“They are my reason and my favorite part of being a teacher. They bring so much joy and light to my day. They come to school each day like sponges, ready to soak up all that I am ready to teach them. No matter what is going on in their lives or the world around them, they show up with an abundance of love to give. Their stories and laughter fill my heart.”

A parent nominated DeBono for the award. The nomination cited her ability to adapt and take on challenges.

“Mrs. DeBono did an amazing job of adapting and overcoming the challenges that were thrown at her this year. She did everything she could to stay connected with her students—she set up biweekly zoom calls with the whole class so the students who had become a school family were able to stay connected with each other in this challenging time.

“Mrs. DeBono made a Facebook group for her students and the families to stay connected. She went live every night at 7 p.m. to read the kids a “bedtime” story, many times with her own girls included. When school was in session she started reading to the kids about Freddie and she was able to pick up the books from her classroom and finish them with the kids before school ended. Mrs. DeBono is more than your average teacher just there to teach the kids how to read, write and do math. She teaches them how to care and love one another.”

DeBono earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University. She has been an educator for nine years, including four as a first-grade teacher.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
  • Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
  • Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
  • Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.
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Lottery Offices Closed in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

MLK MonumentIn observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing and all Lottery regional offices located in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Livonia, Saginaw and Sterling Heights will be closed on Monday, January 18.

All regularly scheduled drawings will take place on Monday.

The bank claim centers that the Michigan Lottery has teamed up with may have office hours on Monday, however, they won’t be able to process claims, because the Lottery offices will be closed.

All Lottery offices will reopen by appointment only on Tuesday at 7:45 am.

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Oakland County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

Marsha ReidAn Oakland County educator known for her passion for working with students with special needs has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Marsha Reid, is a special education teacher at Novi High School, which is part of Novi Public Schools.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school, or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The news segment featuring Reid will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

Reid said she initially didn’t plan to be an educator, but education found her.

“When I was younger, I never thought I would be a teacher. When I got to college, I was interested in research in a psychology and genetic way for understanding the brain and the dynamics of students with disabilities. At the time, the type of thing I wanted to do was not something that was offered as an undergraduate program so my advisor suggested I go into education and then apply for my masters and go into the science side of things.

I don’t think it was until I got into my student teaching that I realized that I could not imagine doing anything else. There was something about being with kids. The fact that I got to be in the classroom with kids, I could connect with them and they could connect with me, that sealed it for me.”

She said her favorite part of being an educator is being with her students, athletes, families, and her teaching community.

A colleague nominated Reid for the award. The nomination cited her ability to relate to all her students.

“With more than 27 years of teaching, she is quite simply the master of all crafts. She can relate to students of all ages and abilities in order to bridge learning, social and emotional gaps needed to be successful in the real world.

I am particularly impressed watching how Marsha relates to those students who may be harder to interact with: those who struggle with behavior. She has a true gift and passion for working with students with behavioral needs.

Marsha has been a tech guru for our high school Special Education department. She took it upon herself to learn how to reach students through the technology we had, and how to create technology that we needed. She made herself available to all the students and staff in the department as a resource in order to make sure everyone was/is on track for graduation.”

Reid earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit and a master’s degree from Michigan State University. She has been an educator for 28 years, 26 in her current position.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
  • Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
  • Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
  • Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.
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Jackson County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

A Jackson County educator known for going above and beyond to serve each of her students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Kristen Ellsworth, is a special education teacher at Columbia Upper Elementary, which is part of Columbia School District.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school, or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The news segment featuring Ellsworth will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

Ellsworth said her love of helping others led her to a career in education.

“I have always enjoyed learning and helping others,” said Ellsworth. “When I was younger, I enjoyed working with the younger students and helping them read or do their homework, so I always knew I wanted to go into a career where I was helping others.”

She said her favorite part of being an educator is “moments when students find their confidence and start believing in themselves and their abilities.”

A colleague nominated Ellsworth for the award. The nomination cited her kindness and patience, as well as holding her students accountable.

“Mrs. Ellsworth goes above and beyond each and every day to serve her students. She provides Special Education services for sixth-grade students who have a wide range of disabilities. Mrs. Ellsworth is patient and kind but also expects her students to work hard and do their very best. She is skilled in the art of helping students realize that a strong work ethic will yield positive results. Mrs. Ellsworth is a firm believer that through confidence building and encouragement, students will rise to meet and even exceed expectations.

As a peer, I am grateful for her creative ideas for supporting students in the general education classroom. I also know that when my students are with Mrs. Ellsworth, they are being challenged to do their best so they can develop good work habits and grow as learners.”

Ellsworth earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. She has been an educator for six-and-a-half years, the last three with the Columbia School District.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
  • Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
  • Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
  • Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.
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Macomb County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

A Macomb County educator known for his creativity has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Ian Schulz, is an art teacher for Lakeview Public Schools and currently is teaching at Ardmore Elementary.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school, or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The news segment featuring Schulz will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

Schulz said fostering creativity in children led him to a career in education.

“I have always enjoyed working with children and come from a family of teachers, so teaching was a pretty obvious choice for me,” said Schulz. “I love being able to be play a part in developing young minds and fostering a child’s sense of self and the importance of creativity. I get to demonstrate daily the joys of learning and the value of education.”

He said his favorite part of being an educator is “seeing the excitement in a child’s eyes when they do something they thought they could not do.”

A colleague nominated Schulz for the award. The nomination cited his creativity and innovation, while making learning fun.

“Mr. Schulz is a very creative art teacher for Ardmore Elementary. For many years Mr. Schulz has provided innovative and fun ideas for students all while teaching from a cart! Mr. Schulz brings art to the classrooms each week. He does not cut short on ideas for the students. He has students work with clay, print making and painting projects to name a few. This is not a small task to set up and take down every 45 minutes for the allotted art time that he sees the students each week. Since our school has moved to hybrid learning this year, Mr. Schulz continues to make sure all students are able to complete amazing work either at home or with him in class. He has developed an Instagram page for the students to share their work and to provide online step-by-step draw together classes. Mr. Schulz always welcomes the students to share back what they have created as well.”

Schulz earned two bachelor’s degrees from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Education from Marygrove College. He has been an educator for 24 years, all with Lakeview Public Schools.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
  • Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
  • Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
  • Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.
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