A Macomb County educator known for her extra efforts to help students, including after-hours tutoring, and leading them in community improvement efforts, such as a recycling club and efforts to help feed the homeless, has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kathy Tisdale, teaches language arts and science for the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at South Lake Middle School in St. Clair Shores. The school is part of the South Lake Schools.
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 Tisdale will air Tuesday 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 Tisdale at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
Tisdale said she was attracted to a career in education because “I love to help make a difference in a child’s life” and that making that difference is her favorite part of being an educator.
“I like being involved in my students’ lives. They can depend on me to address their needs and be a constant advocate for them,” she said. She added that she’s motivated to make an extra effort each day in the classroom because “there’s only small window, two to three years, for me to make a difference in a child’s life. You must make every day count.”
Tisdale has been an educator for 31 years, the last 15 with the South Lake Schools. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Butler University in Indianapolis and a master’s degree from Oakland University.
Tisdale was nominated for the Excellence in Education award by a colleague, who described her as “the most professional and caring teacher I have ever worked with. She goes above and beyond to help South Lake students. One year she brought in her own china and made lunch for a class so that she could teach them dining etiquette! She started the Green Team which is an after school club that promotes recycling.”
The nomination noted that Tisdale also leads efforts to “beautify our school and help to feed the homeless in Detroit. She stays after school tutoring kids and helping at after school sporting events. Needless to say, she is a great support to her colleagues and always is there to give good advice. Sometimes we even call her Mama Tisdale!”
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.