A St. Joseph County educator known for using hands on experiences to help students learn about science and for her support and leadership of a variety of school programs has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Jan Summey, is a science teacher at the Burr Oak Middle School, which is part of the Burr Oak 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 Summey will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and Thursday evening in Detroit.
For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo met recently with Summey at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
Summey said she was attracted to a career in education because it offered opportunities for “working with kids and coaching” and her favorite parts of being an educator are “helping kids and developing relationships with them that are a positive and encouraging influence in their lives.”
Summey said she’s inspired to do her best each day in the classroom by “my students and the people I work with. The kids are why I go to work. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Summey has been an educator for 22 years, all with the Burr Oak Community Schools. She attended Glen Oaks Community College and Western Michigan University after graduating from Burr Oak High School, where she was the valedictorian of her class.
She credited her parents, Allen and Sandy Hoopingarner, for being a large influence in her life and instilling in her the values that continue to guide her life. She also credited her experience with the Burr Oak schools for helping her to be successful.
“Coming from a small school does not keep you from being successful and making a difference. If anything, I feel that the attention and support systems that a small school can provide save many children who might not otherwise make it to graduation,” she said. “We’re a small school with a big heart and rally around those who need us both in the classroom and out.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Summey noted that she often uses her own money to help students develop their science fair projects. “She attends every sporting event and is a junior varsity volleyball coach. She volunteers a lot of her time to help with numerous activities and events at the schools, such as fundraisers and serving as a class adviser. She is the favorite teacher of many of the students and former students frequently come back to see her and thank her. She is respected by her co-workers and always puts students first,” the nomination said.
Summey said she planned to use her award money to buy science materials for her classes and to provide resources to help students create their science fair projects.
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.