An Oakland County educator known for finding new and innovative ways to encourage students to develop their math skills and helping to develop advanced math courses for her school has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Trisha Wellock, teaches sixth-grade math and science at Novi Meadows Elementary School, which is part of the Novi Community School district.
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 Wellock 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 Wellock at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
Wellock said her favorite parts of being an educator are “forming relationships with my students in the classroom and watching them enjoy learning and succeeding in the classroom. And it’s also great to have students come back and visit or send an email just because they miss you.”
She said her students motivate her to do her best each day. “It’s very rewarding when I hear my students say things such as: ‘I hated math and now math is now my favorite subject.’ ‘I want to be a teacher when I get older.’ Or my favorite: ‘You are like my second mom.’”
Wellock said she knew she wanted to be a teacher from an early age. “When my younger sisters and I would ‘play school,’ I would always be the teacher.” She added that desire was reinforced by her former teachers and the experience of coaching soccer in her community. Wellock was named the 2011 Michigan Competitive Soccer Coach of the Year by the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association.
A colleague nominated Wellock for the Excellence in Education award and described her as “one of the most involved teachers in our district.”
“As one of our district Content Area Leaders, she has been responsible for the implementation of our new sixth-grade math curriculum, and has been heavily involved in developing two advanced math courses for students by coordinating instructional expectations with our middle schools teachers,” the nomination said.
“She also has volunteered to run math competitions in our building so groups of our students can try out for a team that has been in the top five at a national level. Mrs. Wellock is one of the lead organizers in an activity called ‘Math Boot Camp.’ During this extra-curricular event students work on math skills and then go train to run a five-kilometer race. Mrs. Wellock raises money through local businesses and families to allow students to participate in the before and after school program for free. Students not only accomplish running a 5K race, but we also have seen an increase in math scores in the classroom.
“Outside of school Trisha coaches soccer and has made so many personal connections with families that she is one of the most known and liked teachers in the building. Trisha Wellock is deserving of this award for her dedication in school, her willingness to develop extra opportunities for students, and her commitment to building strong community bonds.”
Wellock has been an educator for 10 years, the last five with the Novi Community School District. She earned two degrees from Eastern Michigan University: A bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and a master of science degree in kindergarten-through-12th grade school administration. She also played soccer for Eastern Michigan.
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.