A Macomb County educator known for her creative lessons that encourage students to explore their imaginations and express themselves with art, has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Janet Frye is the art teacher for kindergarten through fifth grade at the Erie Elementary School in Clinton Township. 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 Frye 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 Frye at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
Frye said her favorite part of being an educator is the students. “I love having fun and entertaining our young students. I really enjoy it when students can find their own greatness in their creative ideas and are able to build up their talents in art,” she said, adding: “Students need to be motivated to use their imaginations!”
She said her love of art and of children attracted her to a career in education. “There’s nothing better than watching students light up with excitement as they see the results of their own creative efforts in the art room.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Frye describes her as “an amazing art teacher and a leader in our school.”
“Janet’s joy for life is evident in her teaching and in her students’ excitement to have art class each and every week. She continually is creating new and exciting artist experiences for more than 500 students at Erie Elementary. The students experience many art media such as clay, drawing, paper mache and sculptures. The students’ work is displayed in the hallways of our school for all to enjoy,” the nomination said, adding, “Janet has created the Erie Fine Arts festival, which showcases student art work every year at the school.
“Janet is always looking to enhance her lessons using technology. She has created numerous instructional videos to explain artist techniques used for particular lesson plans. These lessons are filled with history and literature to tie into the subject matter. Janet also creates and produces our daily announcements and many other fun and exciting videos for our school,” the nomination said.
“She is an extraordinary mentor to college students and new teachers our buildings and often mentors new elementary art teachers in the district. Janet’s fun and vibrant personality is contagious. Her ‘can do’ attitude pushes all of us to be the best we can be.”
Frye has been an educator for 19 years, the last 15 in her current position at Erie Elementary. She earned two degrees from Wayne State University: A bachelor of arts in education and a master of arts in art education and art therapy.
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.