An Oakland County educator known for seeking out new ways to inspire his students to do their best each day and instill in them a love of learning has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Michael Giles, is an eighth grade English and history teacher at Levey Middle School in Southfield. The school is part of the Southfield 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 Giles 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 Giles at the Breslin Center and presented him with the award.
Giles said his favorite part of being an educator is the students. “I love the challenge of working with adolescents and laughing at what makes them laugh. Working with 13- and 14-year-olds day in and day out helps me to maintain a youthful attitude.”
With a father working as an educator, pursuing a career in the field was a natural for Giles. “I grew up in a teacher household. My Dad was a teacher and a principal for about 40 years. I also had many teachers who made learning fun and who inspired me to use my gifts to help others achieve their dreams.”
Giles said the opportunity to help students achieve their best motivates him to be at his best every day. “After 25 years of teaching, I know I am having a positive impact on the lives of my students, so I get up each day ready to give my best. I want to be a model to my students so they will give their best,” he said.
Giles has been with the Southfield Public Schools for the past 22 years. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan and a master of arts degree from Central Michigan University.
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Giles described him as a teacher who “makes learning fun for his students and does things that other teachers don’t do. He supervised the school garden and taught kids about fruits and vegetables and the science of gardening. He also sends his students on ‘Magic Carpet Writes,’ where they find quiet spots around the school and sit on carpet squares while they brainstorm for writing ideas and start their creative process.
“While they write, he rollerblades through the school checking on their progress and giving them writing tips. He works really hard in school and at home to teach his students well. Even during his Christmas vacation, he spent a week reading and commenting on his students’ essays so that he could help them become better writers when he returns to class.”
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.