A Macomb County educator known for finding new ways to help students understand and appreciate history and economics and for working with students in her personal time has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Angela LoPiccolo, teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History and Advanced Placement Microeconomics and Macroeconomics at Dakota High School in Macomb. The school is part of the Chippewa Valley Schools 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 LoPiccolo 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 LoPiccolo at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
LoPiccolo said her favorite part of being an educator is “watching students grow and mature. Seeing firsthand how students advance academically and become young adults is a very powerful experience.”
She added that she chose a career in education because “I have always loved working with kids. Teaching seemed like a natural fit for me.”
She said her students motivate her every day. “I always want to do my best and be my best for them.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for LoPiccolo said she “exemplifies quality teaching, leadership, and dedication to her profession and students. She is truly admired by her friends, colleagues, and students.”
“Ms. LoPiccolo has all the qualities that one looks for in a role model and teacher. Her enthusiasm for history and economics is unparalleled. She skillfully takes a challenging advanced placement curriculum and makes it meaningful for her students by helping them make real-world connections,” the nomination said.
“This unique combination allows her students to master the content, earn college credit, and, most importantly, understand the value of history and economics in their daily lives. Every day she enters the classroom with passion for her subject and is constantly looking for new ways to make her content fun and exciting for the students. She regularly spends hours before and after school and during her lunch, helping students study for a class test or project, or set-up study groups in preparation for the advanced placement exam.
“Her students appreciate her style of teaching, blending humor into the content, as a way of taking very difficult concepts or events and making them personal to the students.”
The nomination also described LoPiccolo as a leader at Dakota High School, the largest high school in the state. “She serves as the senior class co-advisor and district curriculum
leader. She has helped organize senior events such as senior welcome barbeques, senior apparel, float parties, and the commencement ceremony. Equally important is Ms. LoPiccolo’s leadership as district co-social studies curriculum leader. Through her work, she has been able to help meet our teachers’ needs in creating common assessments, curriculum maps, and updating our district’s curriculum website and shared curriculum drives.”
LoPiccolo has been an educator for 12 years, the last 10 in her current position at Dakota High School. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Oakland University and a master’s degree from Marygrove College. She also holds National Board certification in social studies instruction.
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.