A Shiawassee County educator known for sharing her passion for agriculture with her students and her commitment to seek resources to provide students with new opportunities has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Beth Eggleston, is a career technical education teacher at Laingsburg High School, which is part of the Laingsburg Community Schools district. Eggleston teaches agriculture, food and natural resources, and biology and also serves as the FFA adviser for the high school and the middle school.
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 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 is 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 Eggleston 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, who recently presented Eggleston with the award at the Breslin Center.
“My favorite part of being an agriculture educator is building relationships with my students and their families,” she said. “It is wonderful to watch them grow as leaders and contemplate their futures as agriculturists, knowing that they are the future and we need their talent and innovations for the food and fiber industry.”
Eggleston said there is a state and national shortage of agriculture teachers and she was attracted to agriculture education because “I wanted to help do my part to prepare our future agriculturists.”
She said her students inspire her to do her best every day. “Knowing that my students and FFA members are depending on me and are excited about what I have to teach them, motivates me to be the best teacher that I can be.
“We have crops, a greenhouse, chickens, goats, sheep and a barn cat that depend on us to take care of them. It’s so easy to work with students who share the same passions that I do,” she said.
The parents of a student nominated Eggleston for the Excellence in Education award and described her as spending “many weeknights and weekends in her classroom, the FFA barn or aquatic lab working to enhance the experience that her agriculture science students receive.”
“Her students have won numerous regional, state and national competitions for FFA and academic initiatives. She has worked tirelessly on local fundraising and finding tens of thousands of dollars in grants to fund programs, facilities, travel costs and supplies that the school district cannot afford.
“Her biggest success so far was working with another teacher to secure a $50,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education for a small animal barn in 2014. Then, she oversaw the construction herself, recruited local businesses, parents and students to help pull it all together and cover the gaps that the grant didn’t cover.
“Beth also has secured nearly $5,000 for a LabQuest STEM curriculum from the Laingsburg Educational Advancement Foundation and the FFA Glassbrook Foundation to teach students new methods of scientific data collection. She also secured grants to begin an aquatic sciences lab so students could study fish life cycles. Other hands-on opportunities that she offers students include participating in local county fairs after they’ve raised their own animals or crops,” the nomination said.
“She is there every step of the way for the students, spending hours with them and their families year-round to ensure their success. Beth led her agriculture biology students in building a ‘hoop house’ this year, so they can grow food that will be donated to the local food bank.
“She does all this because of her heartfelt commitment to her students, and her belief in the benefits of a quality hands on career and technical education program that will open up endless doors for tomorrow’s leaders.”
Eggleston earned two degrees from Michigan State University: a bachelor of science degree in animal science a bachelor of arts degree in agriculture education. She has been an educator for four years, all with the Laingsburg Community Schools.
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.