A Kent County educator known for her dedication to helping students succeed in the classroom and in life and for helping disadvantaged students overcome challenges in their lives has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Andrea Donovan, teaches English and physical education at Lee High School, which she attended as a student. She also serves as the chairperson for the school’s English department. The Wyoming high school is part of the Godfrey-Lee Public Schools.
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 Donovan 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 Donovan with the award at the Breslin Center.
Donovan said she pursued a career in education because “the experiences that I’ve had in school and with education throughout my childhood and as an adult have been some of the best of my life. I’ve always wanted to inspire our youth.”
She said that her favorite part of being an educator is “witnessing our youth succeed and become young adults who make a difference in the lives of others. They are truly my heroes.”
Donovan added that the students motivate her to do her best every day. “They are the most amazing kids. Their adversities and struggles could hold them back, but they keep coming each and every day and they inspire me and other educators.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Donovan described her as “modeling excellence for her students and colleagues in everything she does.”
“Mrs. Donovan returned to her alma mater because she knew she could make a difference in the community and the district, which serves many economically disadvantaged families. Students look up to Mrs. Donovan as a mentor and as a role model. She motivates her students and they constantly come to her with their many needs,” the nomination said. “Mrs. Donovan gives of her time, money, and skills to ensure her students can succeed in both life and academics.”
Donovan earned two degrees from Grand Valley State University: a bachelor of arts degree in English and a master’s degree in reading specialization. She has been an educator for 14 years, all with the Godfrey-Lee Public Schools and the past seven in her current position.
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.