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

Dani Gimm Accept Excellence in Education Award

Dani Gimm (right) poses for a photo with her colleague, Beth Bergh (second from left) and Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo after accepting her Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery. Gimm was nominated by a parent of one of her students, Liberty Irwin (left).

An Eaton County educator known for her dedication to helping students succeed both inside and outside the classroom, innovative teaching methods, and use of technology has been honored with an Excellence of Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Dani Gimm, is a kindergarten teacher at the Colt Early Childhood Education Center in the Waverly Community Schools district.

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

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $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, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Gimm will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday in Detroit.

Dani Gimm Talks with Tom Izzo

Dani Gimm (right) talks with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo prior to accepting her Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo met recently with Gimm at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.

Gimm said her favorite part of being an educator is “the light in their eyes” when she helps children “figure out that they can do things they didn’t know they could do. It’s very rewarding.”

She added that her students motivate her to do her best every day. “They want to learn. They want to please. And they get so excited.”

To help keep family and friends involved with the education of her students, Gimm created a Facebook page for her class and uses a special app to text information to parents and guardians.

Gimm has been an educator for 16 years and with the Waverly Community Schools for the past 11 years.

She credits the inspiring teachers that she had in her youth for attracting her to a career in education.

Gimm was nominated by a student’s parent. The nomination noted: “She makes each child feel special individually and learn to recognize their own talents and abilities, but also teaches them the core skills of learning to work as a team and exploit their differences.

“She inspires everyone around her with her enthusiasm for learning and teaching. When she encounters students struggling with concepts, she figures out a way to make it easier for them to understand. No student is ever left behind in her class,” the nomination said.

“Ms. Gimm is innovative and creative with the use of her time to make literally every second count in the classroom when it comes to teaching her kids. She makes even the most daunting and repetitive tasks seem enjoyable to her students by engaging them in learning. She makes learning fun for her students so they want to continue to learn more and more every day.”

Gimm earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Michigan State University and a master of arts degree in educational technology from Central Michigan University.

Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees will be 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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