A Wayne County educator known for the individual attention she provides each student and her willingness to help them work through problems to succeed inside and outside the classroom has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Amy Watts, is a third-grade teacher at the Randolph Elementary School in Livonia. The school is part of the Livonia Public 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 Watts 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 Watts at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
Watts said she was attracted to a career in education by “the idea of being able to positively impact and motivate children to develop a love for learning.”
She said her favorite part about being an educator is “developing a connection with the kids. My goal is to find the code that cracks each and every child’s strength and guide them toward personal success.”
“I love what I do and I make sure my ‘kids’ know it. I love and respect each and every one of them. There is nothing like having past students come back to see me over the years either just to let me know where they are at in life or to come back and thank me. There is nothing more rewarding!” she said.
Watts has been an educator for 15 years, all with the Livonia Public Schools, and has been in her current position as a third-grade teacher for the past four years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Madonna University and a master’s degree from Marygrove College.
Watts was nominated for the Excellence in Education award by a former student’s parent, who wrote: “To say that Ms. Watts goes above and beyond her call of duty is an understatement. I have never met a more caring, compassionate, dedicated and hardworking teacher in my life. She treats every child in her class like they are her own child.”
The nomination noted that “her compassion and help doesn’t stop once you leave her room either. She always has an open door. If a past student has a problem, they know they can count on her. Ms. Watts is truly an exceptional teacher and there aren’t enough words to describe the gem that our school has in her.”
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.