A Marquette County educator known for inspiring a love of learning in her students and setting high standards to help them succeed in the classroom and in life has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Mary Micklow, teaches biology and anatomy-physiology at Marquette Senior High, which is part of the Marquette Area Public 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 Micklow will air Tuesday evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and Thursday evening in Detroit.
Micklow said she was attracted to a career in education because “I’ve always liked helping others learn. Even as a student, I was a tutor. I knew that I needed to have a career that would share the joy of learning. Teaching has been a perfect fit.”
“My favorite part about being an educator is the honor of working with so many different kids. To see the smile of accomplishment on their faces and the joy of success when they reach goals they didn’t think were possible, that’s a great day as an educator,” she said.
“The kids keep me motivated to keep working hard as a teacher. To hear that my class has made them fall in love with science or to hear that my class is the best part of their day; that energizes me as a teacher. To discover an activity that finally motivates that one student who was hard to reach, to hear that you provided challenges that prepared them for the future, and to receive a heartfelt thank you many years later for making them work to their potential; that’s what motivates me every day!”
Micklow has been an educator for 24 years, all at Marquette Senior High School. She earned a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from Northern Michigan University.
She was nominated for the Excellence in Education award by a colleague who described Micklow as “a role model for teachers and students alike. Any student who is lucky enough to have Mary in biology or anatomy class will never forget her passion and enthusiasm. Mary’s energy dominates any room she’s in, and people can’t help but perk up when she walks in the door. Her smile is contagious and she is ALWAYS smiling.
“One point of pride for Mary is the effort she makes to prepare student teachers and other mentees for a successful career. She is demanding but constructive. She holds them to extremely high expectations, but can be counted on for 100 percent support any time of day or night.”
The nomination went on to note that: “Mary’s anatomy students frequently return to her classroom to tell her how well her class prepared them for college and medical careers. She teaches at an extremely rigorous level and expects her students to shine. Her high expectations are held from academics to attendance to personal conduct. She is insightful, bold, and personally invested in the development of her students, both as academics and citizens.
“Regardless of her official title, everyone in our building looks to Mary as an example of a truly dedicated teacher. She tells it like it is without pulling punches, and people respect her for that. She is a trusted confidante for many of our staff. Being a teacher is so much more than a job for Mary, it’s an integral part of her identity. She loves her work, and the world is a better place because she has done it.”
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.