Wayne County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

Julie Dillon poses for a photo with her husband, Jim, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Julie Dillon poses for a photo with her husband, Jim, after accepting her Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

A Wayne County educator known for creating engaging, hands-on lessons to make learning fun for her students and for involving parents in their children’s education has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Julie Dillon, teaches kindergarten at Isbister Elementary in Plymouth.  The school is part of the Plymouth-Canton Community 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 Dillon 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 Dillon with the award at the Breslin Center.

“My love of kids attracted me to a career in education.  Their smiles melt my heart!” Dillon said.  “I am the youngest of nine children and since I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher.”

Dillon said her favorite part of being an education is “building relationships with my students and their families and together seeing the progress each child makes.”

Two parents nominated Dillon for the Excellence in Education award with one saying:  “Julie Dillon personifies excellence, dedication, and commitment in an educator.”

“You can see how her positive energy, enthusiasm, and efforts help students make connections, both academically and socially.  At the first sign that a student is struggling, she identifies how to work with that student to encourage their success.  She genuinely wants each of her kindergarteners to flourish!

Julie Dillon talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Julie Dillon talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

“She’s also in constant communication with parents, making kindergarten an exciting family experience.  Mrs. Dillon always goes above and beyond to make sure her students (and their parents) have a successful and memorable kindergarten year.”

The other nomination noted that Dillon “makes learning come alive in her classroom on a daily basis with fun, engaging and hands-on activities.  She spends time outside of the classroom with her students too, meeting them for hot cocoa at the Plymouth Ice Festival or for a pizza lunch to celebrate great reading through Book-It!

“She also attends school functions such as movie night, skate night, and literacy night.  She spends countless hours preparing learning activities for her students.  She has fantastic communication with parents through texts, emails, and newsletters and provides many ways we can support our children’s education at home.”

Dillon has earned degrees from Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, and Marygrove College.  She has been an educator for 22 years, all with the Plymouth-Canton 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.
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