Detroit Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

Angela Ensley poses for a photo with her grandmother, Naomi Pruitt, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Angela Ensley poses for a photo with her grandmother, Naomi Pruitt, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

A Detroit educator known for nurturing students inside and outside the classroom – including providing food and clothes for those in need – and constantly improving her teaching skills has been honored with an Excellence of Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Angela Ensley, teaches English language arts and serves as the yearbook adviser at the Cody Academy of Public Leadership in Detroit.  The school offers ninth through 12th grades, including special education classes, and features a curriculum designed to foster critical thinking, problem solving, and public advocacy skills for its students.  The academy is part of the Detroit Public Schools system.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award will 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 will be 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 Ensley will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday 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 Ensley at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.

Ensley said her favorite part of being a teacher is “giving my students hope and love and helping them to change their lives. It’s wonderful to see them work hard and fight to become a better person and to be successful.”

Ensley has been an educator for 14 years, all with the Detroit Public Schools.  She said her love of people and desire to help others led her to a career in education.

“I came from an impoverished household and was able to overcome many obstacles and be successful.  That experience has influenced me and inspired me to help others and to encourage them not to give up and to reach for their dreams,” she said.

Angela Ensley talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Angela Ensley talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Ensley said her desire to help others improve their lives motivates her to do her best each day.  “My purpose is to enhance the lives of people.  I live and teach strictly through the foundation and vision of ‘LOVE!’  Seeing my students reach their highest potential and become winners is what I live for.  Making a difference in their lives is worth more than gold.”

A colleague at the Cody Academy of Public Leadership nominated Ensley for the Excellence in Education award, describing her as “the consummate educator. She constantly strives to be the best in her profession by attending professional development workshops to stay current on how to implement best practices in the classroom. She also volunteers to help her colleagues whenever she can.”

“She absolutely loves her students and goes above and beyond her duties and responsibilities to nurture her students. Many of her students come from low socio-economic families and Ms. Ensley doesn’t hesitate to buy food and clothing for those students in need.  Even though she is the mother of four children, she also steps in as a surrogate parent for her students whose parents aren’t able to attend extracurricular functions or activities,” the nomination said, adding: “Ms. Ensley has a passion and love for educating students, and maintains close relationships with them after they have graduated.”

Ensley earned an associate’s degree from Mott Community College and then two bachelor of arts degrees from Cedar Crest College, one in English and the other in secondary education.  She went on to earn two graduate degrees from Marygrove College, a master of arts in elementary education and a master of arts in educational leadership.

Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

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.
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