An Ingham County educator known for being a dedicated teacher and colleague has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kathryn Kluzak, is a kindergarten teacher at Robert L. Green Elementary. The school is part of East Lansing 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 Kluzak will air this evening.
Kluzak says a volunteer opportunity in high school made her pursue a career in education.
“When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to volunteer in my former elementary school. I always enjoyed working with younger students. I was very fortunate to have many teachers and family members who shaped my love of education and I wanted to share that love through a career as an educator. My drive to continue being an educator stems from the love of watching students learn and grow. The information and knowledge that even our youngest learners possess never ceases to amaze me. I aspire to provide my students with meaningful learning opportunities and to continue being present for them each day.”
Kluzak was nominated by a colleague. The nomination cited her dedication to her students and her willingness to help student teachers and colleagues succeed.
“Kathryn has been our school’s special education teacher, a mentor to three student teachers, and is now a kindergarten teacher. I have been lucky enough to be Kathryn’s first student teacher and now colleague. During my first year, she went above and beyond to help me and other staff outside of her job description. She started a learning lab for her caseload students during COVID and last summer she helped the new special education teacher prepare for her first school year all while trying to prepare for her own transition to kindergarten. I am so blessed to have Kathryn as my team teacher because she is so knowledgeable and has taught me so much in our time together.”
Kluzak earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Potsdam and a master’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University, and a post master’s certificate in K-12 administration. She has been an educator for nine years, the last seven with East Lansing Public Schools.
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.