A Lenawee County educator known for her commitment to help students succeed in the classroom and learn through extracurricular activities has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Karen Ricketts, teaches freshman and sophomore English at Tecumseh High School and is the former yearbook adviser, newspaper adviser, and equestrian team coach. She currently teaches an after-school ACT readiness class for students who want to increase their scores and hosts a club to teach students the art of sewing.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 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 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 Ricketts 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 Ricketts at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
She said her favorite part of being an educator is the opportunity to help students. “Every day, I play a role, either positive or negative, in helping students decide who they will be when they grow up. Hopefully, it’s mostly positive. It’s an honor and a responsibility that I embrace every day,” she said.
Ricketts said one of her teachers inspired her to pursue a career in education. “I had a wonderful English teacher in high school and I wanted to be like her. I was sidetracked by a career in publishing for 20 years, but finally went back to finish my teaching degree.”
She said her students motivate her to do her best each day. “I know that my students rely on me to be prepared and able to help them with whatever we are learning, whether it’s a grammar or a life lesson. I enjoy that, as well as helping other teachers.”
Ricketts was nominated for the Excellence in Education award by a colleague who said Ricketts “cares about kids and when she leads an activity, the level of student participation is always high. She also has taught Upward Bound in the community and has been involved with helping kids with 4-H horse projects.”
Ricketts has been an educator for 12 years, all at Tecumseh High School, which is part of the Tecumseh Public Schools district.
She earned a bachelor of science degree in English, communications and theater arts from Eastern Michigan University and a master of arts degree from the University of Phoenix in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on educational technology.
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.